Gravitate to people like you

I believe that one of the biggest mistakes a Hiring Manager (Test Manager etc) can do for a team is to hire in people with the same set of views and opinions. I’m not talking about “Yes” people who don’t have the confidence or inclination to disagree. I’m talking about people who are pretty much in line with your thoughts and thinking, or don’t have any particular views they want to air.

It’s natural for people to gravitate to those who support your ideas. It’s natural to want support for your ideas and respect for your approach; but that’s only valuable if your approach and ideas are right.

Instead I think it’s important to hire in people who are in alignment with your Goals and Objectives, but don’t necessarily hold the same views and opinions of how to get there. Sure, you need some form of alignment in your approach, but to have no criticism, no objections and no discussions about the ‘right’ way is to fall in to the trap of Group Think. To have a team incapable of thinking up new and interesting ways to solve problems is to create a group who will forever need your guidance. And is that really want you want?

So when recruiting a team it’s always a challenge to take a step back from your point of view on Testing and hire in the “right” people for the job. People who have a point of view, but have the personality to discuss constructively.

I worked somewhere where the Team Lead said something along the lines of

 

“We tell them what to do, and they will do it”.

 

I disagreed with this approach then, and I still do now. As a manager (or Leader?) it’s important to be able to ask your team for their points of view, thoughts and opinions.

Each team member will have a different view, a different perspective, difference experiences and skills and a different way of thinking about a problem. Truly diverse and creative solutions will emerge (assuming you have an environment that supports that process). Diversity is a good thing. Right?

I think it was Adam Knight the other week who said on Twitter that he is struggling to find Testers with diverse enough skills and thoughts. I absolutely agree. There’s one thing standardising yourself to conform to the mainstream testing industry (a stereotype?), but for many jobs now the fact you have something different to offer is a positive trait.

So my advice is don’t hire people who are just like you; seek diversity.

And as a Tester, don’t be just like everyone else.

Of course, I may not be right at all and may spend all of my day arguing…time will tell. 🙂

2 thoughts to “Gravitate to people like you”

  1. Interesting point Rob.I think there needs to be a balance between the two. I could imagine based upon your post situations where you all spend the time discussing how to do things rather than do it. IMO there needs to be a mixture of doers and thinkers – now to get that balance right would be an interesting blog.As a leader sometimes due to context you need to put your foot down and say this is how we are doing this today – no questions etc. Other times there can be debate and discussion. The problem with being a leader/manager is that one moment you need to be democratic and others as a dictatorship – back to testers needing full therapy to manage all the diffent personas they need!

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