Download eBook

Understanding Your Tech Team Members Personal Programming

Apr 01, 2022

Following the article a couple of weeks ago about the two communications styles, I received a call from someone asking about ways that the mind is programmed (meta programmes – if you recall, these are the mental processes that you use to manage, guide and direct your experiences). Now as this is one of my favourite topics (and when I get round to doing my Doctorate about Tech Leaders and their mindset, this will definitely be discussed in more detail), the call went on for quite a while.


We were talking about the practical application that Tech Leaders can use metaprograms for and we moved into a conversation about how I would utilise these during interviews to find the right candidate for the role or to help develop our Tech Team members.


Now, I’m not going to go through all the metaprograms at this time as there is too much to cover in an article.  


You may recognise some of the questions, and if you are a seasoned interviewer, you may even have asked these yourself in the past.  This will give you a further understanding of why these are really useful to know.  I have kept it to 9, so it should give you a good start on understanding how to find the best fit for your roles out there. 




Managing Internal referencers will need communicating with clarity, need goals, procedures and criteria and then let them crack on.  They dislike micromanagement and tight supervision. Externals will want almost constant reassurance.  Then there is a range in between and this needs to be considered along with the managers' style, or if the manager can adapt to manage people for that person's style. 


Get this wrong and micro-management of Internal people is perceived; not enough checking in for an External person will be that the Mgmt doesn’t care. 


How do you know when you have done a good job?  Do you just know inside or does someone have to tell you?

 A) Internal

 B) External

 C) Balanced

 D) Internal with External Check

 E) External with Internal Check




If you are recruiting for a people manager, be wary of consistent/continual types as they will never believe staff can do a good job.  It is also really useful to understand your line managers convincer filters.


How often does a co-worker/someone have to demonstrate competence to you before you’re convinced?

 A) Automatic

 B) Number of Times

 C) Period of Time

 D) Consistent/Continual




Here, you are looking for someone's suitability for management.  An experienced manager who enjoys their role will answer all with yes.  If they answer "sometimes" for question c, they have the potential for management. They may be hesitant to tell someone how to increase their chances due to a lack of skills or their values and beliefs may hold them back.  Those that are self-only have the capacity for succeeding but do not want to manage others.  Those that are others only, may lack awareness about what to do, doubt their judgements or function by passively waiting.  Need to be given instructions to proceed.


  1. Do you know what you need to do to increase your chances for success on a job?
  2. Do you know you know a good way for someone else to increase his or her chances?
  3. Do you find it easy to tell them or not so easy?

(Self & Others – yes, yes, yes/sometimes; Self only – yes, no, no; Others only – no, yes, yes)

 A) Self and Others

 B) Self Only

 C) Others Only




This indicates whether a person is decisive, or whether they take a while to ponder the outcome

When you come into a situation do you usually act quickly after sizing it up, or do you do a detailed study of all the consequences and then act?

 A) Active

 B) Reflective

 C) Both

 D) Inactive




It goes without saying that Managers are people people.

Tell me about a work situation in which you were the happiest, a specific one-time event.

 A) Things

 B) People

 C) Systems




This is useful to know alongside your own chunk size filter, or who the person is going to be reporting in to.  Knowing this will help you communicate in a way that resonates best with them, and will also save you frustration. 


Big picture is global, and details is specifics. Global to specific people will communicate in big picture first and then go into the details; specific to global is details to big picture. 


If we were going to do a project together, would you want to know the big picture first, or all the details first.  Would you really need to know the... (ask opposite) big picture/details?

 A) Global to Specific

 B) Specific to Global

 C) Global

 D) Specific




This indicates the persons' longevity and the type of role that will best suit them.  A difference person won’t be happy doing the same repetitive tasks day in/out; a sameness person will not be happy with changing goalposts frequently


What is the relationship between what you’re doing this year and what you were doing last year?

 A) Sameness

 B) Sameness with Exception

 C) Sameness and Differences Equally

 D) Differences with Exception

 E) Differences




During this, you need to listen to their words and watch their physiology to understand their responses.  Where there is a high level of stress in the role, the best fit for the role will be someone who displays choice or is dissociated from any emotion.


Tell me about a work situation that gave you trouble, a one-time event.

 A) Dissociated - Thinking

 B) Associated - Feeling

 C) Choice



Information Processing Style

Management and leadership positions are often lonely and you have less support.  People with an External Information Processing style wouldn’t necessarily have the support they need, and you would need to make sure that you allocate them time or provide them with a buddy that they can talk through challenges with.


When you need to work through a problem or a challenge in your life, is it absolutely necessary for you to:

Talk about it with someone else, or

Think about it by yourself only?

 A) External

 B) Internal


Now, here is the tricky bit - there is no right or wrong answers to these questions. They are there just information gathering at the end of the day and they are useful to understand how an individual operates.  You will need to consider the company culture and line manager of the team member, so it is really useful to know your own meta programs, and those who are going to be line managing your team members.


These aren't just useful for when you are recruiting, but also if you are a Tech Leader who is joining an existing team, you could also set these as part of the “getting to know you” kind of 1:1 so you know how best to work with their teams. 


If you want to know more about your own Personal Programming, which includes even more metaprograms, then take a look at The Tech Leader Diagnostics.


We want to help you

Become An Awesome Tech Leader


If you have a question or you just need some help, support, or even someone to just bounce around some ideas with, schedule a complementary Pick My Brains call.  We are here for you.

Schedule Pick My Brains Call

Not ready to schedule a call?  Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.