I recently read a post by John Hunter entitled, “Finding, and Keeping, Good IT People,” and couldn’t help but think it merited some additional thoughts on the subject. He makes a few main points in his post, namely: look at the hiring process, reduce your requirement count, treat existing staff well, and a good programmer is a good programmer. I’m going to expand on all of them here.
Look at the hiring process
Your hiring process is intended to filter out the large number of applicants into a small pool worthy of interview. How this process is implemented can turn good engineers off from of a job simply because it is not robust enough to handle the applicants that apply. Continue reading “Hiring and Keeping Good Engineers (part 1)”
So now to the final discussion in my series. About Great engineers! I have been pondering this one, because, for some reason it’s the hardest to provide valuable information about. Great engineers/employees in general are hard-working, deadline-meeting, project-churning machines that bring value to your organization consistently with a smile on their faces. What could be wrong with that?! I’ll guess that nothing is wrong with that, though there is the matter of keeping them as great engineers. Lack of motivation, disinterest in doing the same ol’ thing, frustration with other engineers, and many more daily occurrences can push their productivity down. So for a manager, your job is to ensure that they are happy and able to do their duty!
Without further ado:
Continue reading “Treat Great Engineers Like Gold”
Ineptitude is a difficult issue to combat because there are, obviously, different levels of ineptitude. They range from someone who is selectively disinterested in a specific task (I would argue this is the most frequent), all the way to completely dysfunctional. In the case of the latter, expedient dismissal is the best option. That being said, dismissal is a difficult issue to work with based upon your own organization’s policies regarding termination, and so, I won’t go into detail beyond documentation and getting them out as soon as is practical.
In the case of selective disinterest in certain pieces, however, there are some things you can do to help them to integrate more effectively into the team.
Continue reading “How to Handle Ineptitude”
Assholes assholes everywhere…. ok, not really. I spoke about engineers who behave with utter disregard for anything or anyone but themselves in this post, and now the time has come to elaborate on how a leader can manager these types of individuals. These can be very easy to deal with (for the idle asshole), or incredibly difficult (with the conniving ones), but regardless of how asshole-like they are, here are some tips to deal with them when they are under your employ.
Continue reading “5 Ways To Put Assholes In Their Place”
Update: If YOU are a shy individual and want to get more outgoing, check out this post from Upgrade Reality.
Now that I’ve described the main types of engineers, I’m going to gear some advice in how to work with them. First on the chopping block is those shy and quiet engineers who don’t need, or even want to get noticed, or even talk to others. I think that this category is one of the hardest to deal with because by virtue of their nature, they don’t want to talk to you about problems, improvements, questions, etc.
Throughout high-school, I was constantly berated by my classmates behind the backs of our teachers. I was called many names that I don’t even care to think about to this day, and as a result, I was extremely introverted. I had a close-knit group of 5-7 friends who I would hang out with in my spare time, but for the most part, I would stay at home with my family and watch TV or play on the computer. That all changed when I moved out after high-school with my friend Ryan. He was a jock (baseball player) and therefore had many friends who I had never met and had no interest in meeting. They would come to our apartment and watch TV, play video games, and go off-roading with the group. At first, I felt like my friend was being taken away from me, but as time went on, I realized that these people actually CARED What I had to say! The names never came, and the more I spoke, the more intently I was received. In fact, some of my best friends now, are those who came from his friend-pool and hung out with me! I owe my extroverted nature to that experience. I’m not sure who I’d be if it weren’t for the short 9 months living with him.
Continue reading “5 Tips for Managing Shy People”
So here I’ve been sitting, contemplating how to write this post, and not having any epiphanies as to how to go about it. Shy engineers are easy to discuss, assholes are equally easy. Ineptitude was a bit ranty, though in my defense, those engineers tend to rant of their own accord, so it seemed to fit. Now comes the one that should be easiest to write, but is hard to really come up with something intriguing and useful. So I’m just going to throw it out there for the record, because this is the category in which MOST engineers sit, and the reason engineering actually works in companies. I’m going to refer to them as A+ Engineers because if they were in school, I’d tend to give them all A pluses for grades.
So, without further ado, here is a list of common traits to good, A+ engineers: Continue reading “What Makes a Great Engineer?”
Welcome to the third installment of engineer typologies! I previously discussed shy and asshole engineers, and now I will discuss incompetent engineers. In many areas of an organization, incompetence is something that everyone hates, yet for some reason do very little about. Yes, there is the necessary due process that must come in order to remove someone from an organization, but not always is the situation so obvious as simply seeing someone and removing them. In fact, the type I’m referring to today is that person who comes into the interview before they are hired wearing a three-piece suit, ready and waiting for the questions to begin.
They show you a face that is truly telling of their obvious worth and they have the charisma to back it up. They tell you all of the skills they know they are excellent at, adequately answer all questions posed to them, and then half-way through, you begin to drool (figuratively of course), thinking of the great things you can put them into to gain your team some well-needed clout with upper management. So you hire them. Continue reading “Wanted! Successful Company Seeking Inept Engineers”
This is the second post regarding personality types. In my prior post regarding shy engineers, I mentioned some of the problems with being a too-shy engineer with respect to your advancement capabilities. In this post, I want to broach the subject of the completely reverse side of that coin. In fact, I have to admit there will likely be a bit of cynicism you’ll be able to detect as I write. I’m referring to those I would like to call assholes. Now many people have written about assholes, though most of them are referring to managers. Bob Sutton has even come out with “The No Asshole Rule” which I highly recommend you read, regardless of your level in your organization.
There are a few features common to asshole engineers:
Continue reading “Asshole Engineers Tear Teams Apart!”
I have interacted with many an engineer in my four years working as one. And one of the most fascinating aspects of meeting and seeing how they work is how incredibly different those engineers’ personalities are! I’m not speaking of extra-work interests, but rather how different people respond to similar situations based on prior experiences and learning. Communication is something I always spout a need to improve, and responses to stimuli show that it is definitely something that needs to be undertaken in order to gain advantage and respect in the workplace.
This is going to be a multi-part blog to discuss different personality types and their effects on perception by management. Continue reading “A Call to Shy Engineers: Yell if you have to!”
What can be worse for a manager than to have someone come into their office trying to weasel out a favor? Ok, I’m sure that any type of disciplinary action is worse, and even layoffs, but the idea of someone going out of their way to try and push an agenda of theirs onto you is definitely up in that top pet peeve list. I have seen managers go from both extremes of pushing an employee out of their office when they realized what they were trying to do, to falling into it hook, line, and sinker, and then many somewhere in between.
Continue reading “5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Approached About Favors”