Plays Well With Others – So You’re the Boss Now…

I’m frequently asked the following paraphrased question: I’d been happily plugging away in my job as a {DBA/Dev/Terminator/Warp Drive Engineer} for several years, when I applied for the manager position.  I was surprised and thrilled when I got the job!  But now that I’ve been in the job for a while, I find that no one on the team is thrilled with me.  I know that I made a lot of changes.  But they were all for the good of the team.  What should I do to reconnect with my team and rebuild my friendships? A common theme in this series, “Plays Well With Others”, is that the skills … [Read more...]

DBTA: The Shape of Database Licensing Costs to Come

One fall semester many years ago, I was a university freshman.  Actually, I was anything but "fresh." I was dumb enough to think that 8 a.m. was a wonderful time to attend Economics 101. After staying up until the wee hours most every night, the "dismal science" took on more than one meaning as I set my clock just early enough to get to class on time.  Along with 30 other very naïve classmates, I staggered into class and did my bleary-eyed best to focus on the lessons at hand.  There were lots of Greek compound words and lots of graphs. I learned, for example, that the word economics … [Read more...]

Plays Well With Others – Eight Behaviors of Excellent Leaders

Last week,  I talked about one of the worst type of management scenarios to work under – the micromanager.  Now, let’s take that conversation from the “Dark Side” into the light to talk about great leaders. To say that Dr. William Cohen knows a few things about leadership is approximately the same as saying that Moby Dick was a fish.  Not only was Cohen a former Air Force major general, university president, and business leader, but he has many degrees (including a PhD) and even holds several engineering patents.  One of the many books authored by Dr. Cohen is the 1998 Best Business Book of … [Read more...]

Plays Well With Others – Dealing with Micromanagement

Imagine you’re working on a new project.  It’s an important project and its success will be a big win for the organization.  You were chosen for the job because of your competency, skill, and effectiveness.  You get things like this done all the time and have a track record for pulling it off.  Now that the project is underway, you’re finding that trust and support you need from management is absent.  Instead, you’ve got a micromanaging boss, who’s put so many additional requirements on your for reporting, meetings, and whatever their favorite nit-picking happens to be that management is … [Read more...]

Plays Well With Others – Influence versus Authority

You’ve probably found that the prefix “lead” is a fairly common occurrence in the technology world.  We have “lead developers”, “lead DBAs”, “lead architects”, and “lead consultants”.  Yet, we don’t have “lead managers”, “lead directors”, or “lead VPs”.  Why is that? Well, there are probably a number of different reasons for having “lead” technologist titles depending on who you ask.  For example, the HR department might say that adding “lead” to a technologist’s title justifies the better salary that the company had to pay to acquire that specific talent.  The IT department chiefs might … [Read more...]

Plays Well With Others – Metrics to the Max!

November 2009 would have been the 100th birthday of famed management guru, Peter Drucker, were he alive today.  Now for those of you who don’t know the name, Peter Drucker was no mere guru or simple pundit.  He was in fact the father of management and universally acclaimed as the world’s greatest management thinker.  Anyone who’s taken a business class, studied for an MBA, or had to deal with an IT project to build a management dashboard has been touched by Peter Drucker.  If you have a spare moment, add Drucker’s Concept of the Corporation to your library. Drucker came upon the scene at a … [Read more...]

SQLRally Precon Voting

I have submitted a pre-conference session to present  at the PASS SQLRally, May 11, 2011 in Orlando, FL. My session is entitled Leadership and Team Management Skills for the Database Professional. If you've ever attended my 1-hr professional development session at the PASS Summit, which has scored highest in the professional development track, then you've seen a preview of what we'll be covering over the course of the full day. During the session I will discuss how most IT leaders earned their promotions based on technical competency, not on leadership or managerial skills. Technical … [Read more...]

Plays Well With Others – Successful Directors versus Successful Technologists

The skills that enable a person to be a top-tier database professional have very little to do with being a successful member of a board of directors. So what skills are needed for a person to be successful on a board of directors for any large organization?  Here are a handful of skills, in no particular order, that I’ve seen demonstrated by very successful directors from days past: Strategic thinking Let’s face it - technology is detail-oriented work.  No database professional can be truly effective at their job if they never get the parameters correct when calling a function, can’t … [Read more...]

Plays Well With Others – The “Unhiring” Process

It’s not a pleasant topic to discuss.  There are typically two general scenarios for involuntary separation – layoffs and termination.  Layoffs entail a general reduction in work force due to a need to reduce expenses.  Layoffs usually imply that those it affects were dismissed through no fault of their own and that they were otherwise good employees.  Termination, on the other hand, indicates that the employee had failed to meet the expectations of the job and was otherwise incompatible with the needs of the employer.  This is such an unpleasant topic that people manufacture lots of words to … [Read more...]

Plays Well With Others – Hiring, Part 3

Fit and Finish Considering how expensive it is to bring on new people into your organization, it really pays dividends to make sure that any new hire is both a good fit for the technical requirements of the job as well as a good fit for the overall culture of the team and organization overall.  In part 1 of this series, we talked about the groundwork needed to effectively bring in a new hire.  Like database and application design, a little extra preparation in the beginning can save you a lot of heartache later in the process.  In part 2 of the series, we talked about various styles of … [Read more...]