Managing Developers...Part 5...Dealing with Cry Babies

This is Part 5 of my series on managing developers.  

Some managers complain that their developers are cry babies, constantly bitching about every little thing. Do you feel as though your people cry about the littlest issues? They are. Here's why.

Coders are logical people. It's their job and it's their nature. When presented with illogical situations, logical people will want to show other people just how absurd and illogical the situation really is. They do this via Reductio ad absurdum. This is Latin meaning "reduction to absurdity." Reductio ad absurdum has been used for thousands of years to prove/disprove concepts in mathematics and philosophy. When people hear reductios they naturally laugh because they are absurd. An example..."I started smoking because all of my friends were doing it." "So, if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?"  Jumping off a cliff because someone else does it is totally absurd and is used to prove how illogical peer pressure can be.  

The more a developer acts like a cry baby, the more illogical you are being. They are merely trying to make you see it. Don't try to force the developer to stop acting like a crybaby. Instead, focus on fixing what is illogical. Is it a bad process? A stupid policy? Fix it!

Another example...long-winded, bitchy emails from developers. Most managers hate receiving these. Remember that the longer the email is, the more the developer, and probably the whole team, hates the given situation. Don't be dismissive.  Read the email.  The length of the email is directly proportional to how illogical and stupid the given situation is.  

And, most importantly, if a Cry Baby stops crying, evaluate whether you have fixed the underlying situation or have you just alienated the developer to the point of ambivalency?