aNewDomain.net — You think tech is IT’s biggest challenge? Easy mistake. It isn’t. The biggest problem lies in the user base you support. People. The human factor is your weakest link.
Here are six troublesome user types IT pros should watch out for — and know how to head them off at the pass before they disrupt your enterprise’s productivity and harmony.
Show above is an image of the alleged Cairo Gang circa 1920 from Wikimedia Commons.
The clueless user is loyal enough. He or she shows up for work every day — but is just, for lack of a better word, unaware. He’s the kind of person who never reads the email about the employee elevator being closed for maintenance and annoys everyone by repeatedly walking into it and and hitting the call button.
That same clueless user not only skips elevator email. She also ignores most emails regarding software upgrades. Forget that key implementation of the new accounting package she needs to learn about. She is clueless. Blissfully unaware.
Prescription: Make sure the clueless have tech info right in front of their noses and remind them frequently about what’s going down. Keeping easily accessible and user-friendly documentation just a click or two away will help improve the clueless user’s productivity and make your life easier in the process.
Carefree users are fun at parties. But they give you and your department zero respect. Daily tasks like backup, for instance, are an annoyance they ignore. They don’t fill out forms correctly, messing up parameters and just generally goofing off when it comes to entering data in a proper format. Later, they get an error when a report won’t parse a parameter — and guess who gets to fix that?
Prescription: Include error prompts and regular reminders in software requiring detailed task completion. That lets the carefree be free of care, to a degree. And it frees you from a ton of resentment and hassle, too.
This user just says no. Please log off is a simple instruction, you’d think. But nope. He won’t do it. He’ll just leave an active connection live and just let it hang there, unsecured and sputtering, all night long. Please do not force close the terminal? Yeah, right. This user does whatever he feels like — he is the tech equivalent of a sociopath bordering on psychopath. You’re losing security, performance and who knows what else with this bozo.
Prescription: Restrict permissions. If the defiant user is bad now, he or she will only get worse later. Imagine issues with compliance that bear serious calamities for the whole company down the line. So do it now. Get the defiant in line asap and restrict as many permissions as humanly possible.
The Snotty Know-it-All
This is the IT pro’s frenemy. This type of user knows enough to be dangerous — and in some cases, he knows too much or thinks he does. But he or she can easily lull a tech pro into thinking he’s got a kindred spirit there.
Like an old cheese, the snotty know-it-all wears badly over time. He insists that he has the answer to every IT related problem. Computer too slow? He demands more RAM — even if he has 20 applications dragging down his 8GB already. Arguing with this user is fruitless. The snotty user feels entitled and acts as if she is IT certified or something. And this bogs everyone down.
Prescription: Keep a channel open with this user in a friendly way and inform and educate him without talking down. That will empower this user without disempowering you. Maybe your extra knowledge will even inform and increase productivity somehow. And maybe, just maybe, the know-it-all will share something he really does know that you don’t — a great freeware app, maybe, or a cool workaround. That’s a win-win.
The whiner never fails to complain when things are going well. He will complain about old software, new software, the training, the connection, the password policy, the interface, you name it. Wah.
Prescription: You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the users all the time. Do what you can to fix actual problems, of course, but don’t waste too much time on whiny employees. Differentiate between whining and real issues. You have important work to do. So pop in your ear buds and smile. Life’s short.
Based in Charlotte, NC, Ant Pruitt is a career IT pro and a senior editor, columnist and podcast captain at aNewDomain.net. Follow him @ihavnolyfe or via his stream on Google+ and email him at [email protected].