Everybody is good at something, but not at everything. Those who find their true vocation have more chances of being happy with their work and find it rewarding.
Unfortunately this is not the case for all and often, we find people stubborningly hanging on to roles that really don't fit their competencies. It's frustrating for the under-performer and for all around him.
I've compiled a few behaviour indicators that I would like to share with you, hoping that it can identify misfits and help them find their true calling.
1. Taking personal offence in technical discussions.
When a critic to a technical solution hurts egos and ends up at the door of the Human Resources its a clear indication that something is not right. Not all people have the same point of view, and sometimes not really clear to see the right solution. Technical discussions are inevitable and sometimes they can rise of tone and need to be escalated to a technical supervisor. This is normal. What is not right is when in disagree, arguments like "bullying" and "I'm not stupid" come into the discussion.
2. It's not in my Job Description
This argument comes quite often from people that simply don't want to do a given task. Job descriptions make sense in a production environment where procedures are expected to be always the same. When in an environment where problems are always different and thus require different solutions, it's not possible to have a job description that covers everything.
3. Things were always done this way, why change ?
Changing is always difficult, there are primal fears involved in the prospect of change and thus being one of the most difficult things to promote. This is specially more true when selling change to people that are insecure of their value.
4. Hiding problems and reporting achievements
When no problems are reported and everything is going just smoothly for weeks in a row, is because something is definitely wrong.
Good engineers love to solve problems, and report the way they solved it. If this is not happening, beware. Dig a bit deeper and for sure, there is something there needing attention.
5. Attaching its name to work done by others
If someone places his name on a document without having contributed much to it, can happen for two possible reasons: a.) by request of the original author in order to give prestige to the document or b) without request and for reasons such as revising the formatting, or inclusion of an index.
6. Reporting time discussing with person A B or C
When for solving a problem, someone reports the time discussing it with person A, B or C, then it usually means that the problem is being solved by others. Please be very attentive to this, as it has very perverse effects on the company organisation. Not only is the person gaining credits for the work of others, but also, it is slowing down the work of others.
7. Using Seniority as argument
This one speaks for itself and doesn't need any further comments.
8. Appetite for Managing (but without vision)
There is a noticeable tendency of people that are frustrated with their work to aim to go to a managerial level. But if asked the simple question: "What would you make differently ?", there is nothing that is really relevant. I believe they secretly hope that this way, they will escape the need of having to actually "work".
Interestingly and very unfortunately, incompetents sometimes reach this goal and it can work very well for them, but not for the company. Humans are mostly lead by example, and when the example is not of hard work and competence, its effect is soon felt within the group. But that is a much longer topic.
That's it, I hope you liked it.