Just like there are very few bad bosses, there are very few bad employees.
Most everybody wants to do a good job. They want to be productive and they want to be part of something meaningful. We all just get wound up on where those pieces fit for each of us. If somebody is really good at being detailed oriented and loves to be involved in fixing things, it doesn’t make any sense to make them part of a creative project where they have to create something from scratch with very few instructions. They will flounder and struggle through the entire process.
We need to make sure people who are square pegs are not being forced into round holes.
When I was working on a project a number of years ago, a friend of mine asked “Are you a greenfield or brownfield person?” Before that conversation I had never made the distinction on what kind of work I did, but as I have looked back at the projects I have enjoyed and the things I like to do, I have realized I am much more of a greenfield person. I like to take an idea and then create something that meets the objectives. Let somebody else make it efficient and squeeze out the last bit of performance from the code, I want to get to the features and prove it can be done.
My friend, on the other hand, was a brownfield person. He loved to make things efficient and optimize them to work as best as they could.
Once the two of us realized this, we were able to divide the work out between the two of us quite well. I took the majority of new stuff and make sure to get it into a state he could then pick up and optimize. The thing is, the two of us taught one another in the process as well. I learned more about optimizing code and he learned more about rapid prototyping exploration. It was a good marriage of our skills and inclinations.
When we put the right people on the right seats on the bus we are more likely to have well organized and efficient teams.
Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash