Saturday, 7 January 2012

Everybody thinks they're above average...

A post inspired by 1.00 FTE:

This is a bit of an aha moment - I'd especially recommend reading the comments about what happens when the perceived capabilities clash.

I have left a job where my perceived capability was well below what I later found out to be reality. I definitely experienced a chafing-at-the-bit (or perhaps "crushed-beneath-the-boot") sensation at that workplace. I was constantly irritated that the mid-level manager didn't seem to trust me to do my job.... even when I tried valiantly to prove my capability, eventually bringing about a revolution to their help-desk system for which I still occasionally receive praise (six years after I've left).

Perhaps the manager was right - perhaps I wasn't as good as I thought I was... but given that I literally doubled my income when I walked out the door (and haven't looked back since), I doubt it.

I recognise it's difficult for non-IT-front-line bosses to accurately gauge the skill of their techies (see my old article on The economics of IT salaries for a discussion) but it's still not good when this sort of thing happens.
That being said - there is absolutely a real need to provide direction for those that need it, and to make sure that everybody's on the same page. So... what to do?

Is it better to downgrade everybody's skill level to make sure nobody incompetent accidentally gets through and influences strategy until they've "proven" they are capable? Or is it better to trust first?

I'd go for the latter... mainly because I agree with the old adage of "people will meet your expectations whatever they are"... but then I don't have to pay the bills. Opinions?

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