Your Greatest Weakness – Part 2 (23 of 30)

If you missed Part 1 check it out here, otherwise let’s jump right into it.

In-depth learning
I started last post with being a config wiz, the reality was the next phase was to sure up my networking knowledge. Go beyond understanding the configs, and truly understand how to breakdown every technology. Learn what to look for in Wireshark capture, or in-depth knowledge of each protocol knowing each knob to turn and configure. It really helps you in design, troubleshooting and just about every other aspect.

I already blogged about and you can see more ramblings here. Basically, the idea is to be a better speaker, be a better listener. Everyone wants to have their fingerprint on a project, and wants to feel like they are contributing. Let everyone speak and just listen, it saves you time, not wastes it.

This one was hard for me, I always feel I can do everything, and that it’s not that hard, perhaps a lot of work–but not that hard. So to give up control of projects was tough, furthermore it’s hard at first when delegating takes as long as doing it yourself. The trick was watching the payoff in 3-6 months when you can rid yourself of responsibilities, move onto other projects and be seen as multi-dimensional, not just another tech-geek. It was also interesting seeing the other side of the “manager who just tells me what to do, and then takes all the credit.” Learning the reality that people will rarely just run with projects if you don’t define clear goals, deadlines and follow up with them. I really admire people who can delegate without making you feel like it’s dumping work on your plate, as if it is setting up your next challenge, or making you feel apart of the team. This is my next step, to really get in that groove.

Not giving the answer
As I have mentioned, I like helping people out, but there comes a time when giving the answer is not helping. I initially would just give out the solutions. I haven’t stopped cold turkey, but I don’t as much anymore. First reason is that I don’t want to feel like I am being taken advantage of, now if a PM or manager asks me something I just give them the answer, but not another technical resource. Second reason is there is more to learned in the journey then anything else. So I play 20 questions and ask them what they have done, and what theories they have. This helps them learn, and gives me some relief to more questions. The flip side to this was in my first few years, I would yell out questions (we were in a open room) and have the answer before I finished my own sentence. It was comical at first, absurd after a while. I eventually learned, what is the first question this person is going to ask me? I answer that myself and 9/10’s of the time I have my answer. Do that a few times, and you will rarely have to rely on other’s.

Slowing Down
I have a tendency to talk faster than any other human can understand. The way I process information is almost immediate, and it’s always a struggle for me to remind myself, “slow down.” I remember giving a presentation and I blew right through the opening slide with “what the presentation was going to be about.” I always found those to be irrelevant,  since I knew why we were here, I read the invite. What I learned is that everyone else likes to set the tone and have everything broken down. Now I always make sure I take a deep breath and go through each page at my half speed (which is normal people’s full speed.) It helps tremendously, but as I said, it will probably never come natural.

During my short time on this blog, I’ve realized it can be a bit vulnerable to put yourself out there, flaws and all, but I think it’s also the only way to be. Here is every wart I have under a light, but I think we all realize that I am not unique, we all have strong and weak points. More than anything, know your weak points, never be to proud and ignore them.

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>