Welcome to episode 59 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we have part 2 of an interview with Kelly Schroeder about the technical management career and advice for the would-be manager.
Original Recording Date: 10-15-2019
Topics – Kelly Schroeder Interview
02:19 – Kelly’s Current Role as a Manager – Observations and Lessons
- How is this role different than his previous positions?
- The organization is a different scale with over 2000 employees. The IT Department is 80 people, and Kelly has 15 people under him (2 supervisors and 4 direct reports).
- This is wildly different than what he has done in the past. With a team this large, he cannot do anything technical (no room to fit into his day).
- Kelly was hired into this job to replace someone on the way out. He replaced a quality person who had built a great team and considers himself of a maintainer than a builder.
- Kelly realized the person he was replacing had truly cared about the wellbeing of her team. She understood them, knew them on a personal level, and helped shape them to be better people.
- John mentioned some of the great managers he’s had exhibited the same qualities.
- At Kelly’s level, he can know all the people on his team and interact with everyone.
- Even though he manages managers today, the fundamental principle of caring for his people does not change.
- If he was a level or two higher and over a larger team the connection with each person would not be feasible.
- We’re not sure how more senior level leaders handle this, but maybe we need to have one on the show.
- When managing managers, Kelly can set an expectation / vision and ask managers to communicate to their teams, but it’s extremely difficult to step back and avoid micromanagement.
- John shares a fun anecdote about how to properly raise a flag in the military.
- 12:44 – John White School of Mentoring Plug
- Pulling back from micromanagement comes down to respect.
- It feels disrespectful for him to do someone else’s job. When he gets the urge, he thinks about the way he would want to be treated and changes course.
- Is managing like parenting? Listen to Kelly give some great advice here.
16:02 – Advice for the Would Be Manager
- Know what your leadership looks like.
- Some feel leadership looks like a charismatic leader of a large organization (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc.). Because of this misconception, Kelly originally doubted his ability to be a leader.
- Kelly took a StrengthsFinder training and realized he could leverage his relational strengths to lead instead of trying to be like someone who he thinks is a leader.
- The StrengthsFinder assessment is just another personality assessment that focuses specifically on your strengths rather than on what you lack.
- The episodes on management with Charlie Nichol inspired Kelly to share his perspective with our listeners of coming from the SMB world.
- Final thoughts…
- For those in IT and introverted…everyone has the potential to be a leader in some way.
- Leading is mostly about ownership and vision, which you can have over your own responsibilities as an individual contributor.
- Don’t be a afraid of your ability to influence others.
- There are career paths for individual contributors to remain non-managers but still be in leadership roles. Lack of a role like this in your organization may be a sign it is time to make a move to a larger company.
Contact us if you need help on the journey.
- You can find Kelly in the Spiceworks community (Sosipater is his handle).
- Ep58: John White