Chances Are It’s You That’s Stupid

In my experience in the software development world, people tend to have one of the following three reactions to a new technology or process:

  1. This is so stupid.
  2. I can’t do this, please do it for me.
  3. I don’t understand, can you help?

You can learn a great deal about a team member or employee just based on this reaction alone.  The first person expects all problems to exist external to themselves.  If a co-worker immediately reacts to a new tool with “This is stupid”, I know I don’t want to have them on my team.  These types of people don’t consider the why’s of a decision, only the outcomes.  Their immediate reaction is always one of blame and not self-inspection.  They are a contagion to a team that requires flexibility because they embody inflexibility.  Helping these people is almost always an exercise in futility because to them, it’s always something (or someone) else’s fault.

The second group are the give-uppers.  They may toy with it for a bit but only superficially before running to the expert in the hope he will save them from expanding their boundaries.  These people are nearly as detrimental to the team’s morale but they are highly detrimental to the team’s productivity.  They are net negative for teams that require high efficiency to operate effectively.

The last group are the ones you want to have around.  When they don’t understand, chances are they’ve struggled with it for quite awhile and are now looking for some insight as to why things are done a certain way.  They typically don’t want the problem solved for them but they aren’t afraid to ask for a little help.  They realize that there’s probably a reason for everything but they just don’t know it yet.

I get frustrated a lot when dealing with something new but I try to always remind myself to step back and think for a second regarding the problem.  Chances are, I’m missing the big picture or not looking close enough internally before rushing out to blame the technology or process.   Just because something doesn’t do what you expect it to doesn’t make it stupid.