Back to the Digital Peer Group again, to the same conversation about managing different people. I was reminded of it again when sitting having a coffee with Ben. He struggled to describe his colleagues who work in cyber security and eventually chose the word quirky. He apologised as it wasn’t quite the right word he was looking for yet meant it in a nice way, more off beat and original rather than odd, unusual or eccentric.
Quirky I think, is a good word. Not all people who work in cyber security or indeed IT, are quirky yet many have quirky attributes.
The conversation I was reminded of was with Dave when I asked if all accountants were the same. They have a reputation for being boring though I knew what the answer would be. No they are not. People who work in accountancy, IT, cyber security or indeed every profession or trade exhibit the whole range of human characteristics that you will find anywhere.
While everyone can be different, to work in a specific trade you need to have some relevant skills and characteristics. Being good with numbers certainly helps if you want to be an accountant. This means that while everyone is their own person they all have something in common and this can lead to them being considered as an homogeneous group.
It used to amuse me and annoy me in equal measure when my old boss used to say ‘You IT people’, as if we were all the same, especially when he was aiming his barbed comment at me, someone who has no IT qualifications at all. I managed technical people for thirty years and so I guess I can claim to be one of them. I must have some attributes in common.
All of us are different, even when we have a lot in common. Grouping people together can be convenient yet leads to incorrect assumptions and bad management. The best way to manage people is to treat them as individuals within a collective. Thai takes time and understanding.