Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the US, one of our major holidays. We celebrate and honor those who have fought for our country in this holiday. We have many friends and family who have served in the Armed Forces, , , including me.

I served in the US Marine Corps for 4 years and it was where I got introduced to the world of computer technology. The Marine Corps was also where I got my first taste of management responsibility. I’m convinced it is where I transformed my basic management approach from “authoritative” to “persuasive”. Most of us in IT have authoritative personalities – over 70% of us. This approach works fine when we are responsible only for ourselves in a technical role. It can get in our way and becomes a big obstacle when we become managers.

In the Marine Corps, I can give an order and it has to be carried out, , , there is a very strong structure of discipline. No time for “I don’f feel like it” or “I don’t think that’s a good idea”. Orders are given and they are carried out – very simple.

Well, I didn’t know much about personality types and things of that nature early in my career, especially not when I was in the Marine Corps, , , but I’m convinced upon looking back that it must have been in this first IT management role that I began intuitively becoming a more persuasive manager.

For one reason!!

You get better results when you explain to your technical team the need to do something, why it’s important, and what’s in it for them. In other words, you communicate and sell the idea. When you do, I’ve found you get much better results and more commitment to the work.

What is an authoritative management personality?

Good question. In a nutshell, an authoritative manager’s approach is like this:

  • Let’s go do the work
  • Do it now
  • Do it my way
  • I don’t want to discuss it

This last part, “I don’t want to discuss it” is what can create problems for you, , , unless you are in the Marine Corps. Most people do not mind doing the work when they understand the importance and why the work needs to be done. If the work turns out to be good for them, that’s icing on the cake.

Over 70% of us in IT are shy and introverted, , , meaning we do not like to discuss these issues, , , we prefer to give the order , , , and for people who work for us to “just do their jobs”! In some work environments like the Marine Corps this works well, but in most it doesn’t.

My basic personality is an authoritative manager style just like most in IT, but I change when I go to work and transform my approach to a persuasive management style. I’ve learned the value in communicating what, why, and the benefits of doing things, , , i.e., I force myself to communicate. It’s not something I necessarily want to do, but I’ve learned that it’s a requirement for me to succeed in an IT manager role.

One last thought, , , today is a holiday for us in the US. You need to take time for yourself and do things with your family and friends – away from work. Many of us in IT can be somewhat workaholic types, , , work is good but you also need some downtime to re-energize and recharge the batteries, , , you will be more effective when you do.

I know, because I have a serious workaholic personality, , , but I’ve learned to take more time for myself. I planned to do a lot of writing over this long 3-day weekend, but I never got to it. Part of me wants to kick myself, but another part realizes it will help me be more productive in the days ahead.

Take care of yourself and spend some quality downtime from time to time – holidays, weekends, vacation, etc. Your family will appreciate it and so will those who work with you – you will find that you become a fresher person able to look at the positive things easier and more often.

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