You know those “favorite” members of your team?

Like the one who’s seemingly insipid, relentless, and endless communications appear to be tailored to cut your ego in half with every keystroke and are about as welcome as the smell of burning toast on your way out the door in the morning? You think they believe everything that they say should be written down and preserved for future generations and that you should feel privileged to be lacerated by their “feedback.”

Or, how about the teammate who appears to be so lazy that they don’t even bother to make excuses for their tardiness or lack of productivity? In your mind, they rank right up there with your uncle Bob who’s idea of a career is being a professional stay-at-home comic book reader.

Or, what about that person on your team that seems to be a duplicitous, disingenuous, poser who is all smiles to your face but behind your back they’ll eviscerate you - in fiction and otherwise? You think that they have the path to career purgatory figured out.

All winners in your mind.

Who has the time to listen to incessant, ego-destroying assaults? Or, pay attention to the most unproductive and lazy person on the team? Or, talk with someone who’s going to say bad things about you anyway? Or, go head-to-head with that team member who’s already determined that it is an adversarial relationship?

You just want to switch them off, right? They’re bozos.

We’re engineers! We’ve conquered all through our Spockian logic and our dizzying intellect. We don’t have the time or the energy for emotions or communicating with those who are deemed to be unworthy of our precious brain cycles.

What’s the solution?

Clearly, you must flip the BOZO bit.

Ignore them. Trivialize their messages. Flag their emails as spam so that they never arrive. And, best of all, send curt, short messages in response to theirs so that you shut down their incessant nagging.

I mean, who has time for their crap, right? You do. You must. It is your job.

If you flip the bozo bit, you’re creating a supervolcano of Yellowstone caldera proportions. Either that person is going to build up steam until they blow or they’re going to stoke the fires of the team until they blow or both once they find a suitable trigger (just about anything it seems). When it does, it won’t be pretty. And who’ll be to blame? The bozo or the one who flipped the bozo bit (who might just be the real BOZO)?

This isn’t rocket science but most fail to realize that they’re in the communication business not in the software development business. Software is just a byproduct.

Not communicating with someone is like creating a black hole on your team. They suck energy, are often unproductive, and are demotivating if you or someone else gets sucked into their vortex. If you set the bozo bit on them, you’ve eliminated the possibility of coaching, guiding, and, more than likely, encouraging that person since you’ve obliterated the possibility of effective communication. You’ve walled yourself off from them.

It doesn’t matter if you believe that the person is lazy, a nuisance, or not worth your time. You need to find out what their true intentions are. You may very well find out that your assumptions are entirely wrong, uncalled for, or based solely off of your ego’s reaction (it happens to the best of us) or you might find out the true reason for their behaviour. Either way, it’s a win for the team.

So, for your sake and mine, please, please don’t set the bozo bit. It’ll just end in pain and suffering.