One of the greatest challenge of a senior administrator is the ability of teachability. Teaching junior member of the team to adopt immediately to the brutal environments of enterprise systems. Its often not the skill that matters most but rather the management skills which allows a more technically capable member of the team to be able to manifest the skill-sets that allows him/her to push forward in making decisive plans in effectively duplicating himself/herself to new and more junior members of team.
In this post I am going to detail some very important management strategies that will equip seniors in performing these task with ease of mind.
Duplication is very important, this allows you to immediately and responsibly prepare your would be successors in the arena that is to come. Your goal is simple. To be able to make yourself equally dispensable to those you are under your team. The more your subordinates know how you think and make decisions the more easy for you to delegate tasks which can be performed in almost seamless perfection.
You should be able to make your subordinates masters of what your team do. The ability to move in swiftly and address issues which requires an almost pre-emptive solution. Imagine this scenario: You are on vacation and suddenly an entire cluster of servers goes down due to problems incurred by a patching session done in utter wanton. Can you see how the boomerang will hit?
Avoiding these disasters can be foreseen provided you have a mitigation strategy that can immediately address an issue once it becomes evident. These check-points can be package in your DR strategies and help to guide and equip your team the necessary tools in responding to such events without you having to scatter to find an Internet connection.
Attacking the problem requires alot more the skill-sets, it requires that you have the complete array of experience and knowledge of the problem. Therefore it is important that you will be able to understand where the problem is actually taking place. If you have a complete mapping of the your IT infrastructure then you will be prepared. Alot of systems administrators fail to see this at the very beginning. Things such as DR initiatives and alterations in systems engineering. Those who try to re-invent everything are doomed to fail.
III. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Probably the most important aspect of management is understanding your ground and the ground of all the people you are working with. Emotions play a critical part of the puzzle. "Working harmoniously with your co-leads and subordinates"... there are aspects of work that just wont be dealt with pure technical details alone. Interpersonal strength and understanding to use them on a situation will help you prepare for the worst. There are tons of books out-there that outlines strategies for working out the group, "as a well oiled machinery" that will move forward as the challenge arises. But, all of them primarily deal with one truth. Working out the difficulty between emotional/cultural differences.
There is a big difference between someone who is willing to share his knowledge/toughts to somebody who excels without reproach but unwillingly display the inability to delegate knowledge transfer! This is very important, knowing your systems engineering team will spell the big difference in understanding the underlying framework of your current technical details. Their are people who has the inborn gift of teaching... there are those who can't. But, I belive teaching is inborn to all of us. What keeps that guy/gal from doing his part to teach junior members has something to do with their personal trait and character. Understanding and strengthening these traits to energies that expounds more than what they can offer will help your team in the long run. You will see later on members of the team moving forward to preparing development areas for you and the team.
V. COACHING A CAREER PATH
I remember the first time I worked as a clerk encoder for some government office about 16 years ago. I had very little with some technical technical knowledge in managing and using systems. I was eagerly and patiently working my way out of the problems I have created. An employee of the agency approached me and gave me one hell of a beating! To quote "....it is a shame that the agency would hire someone whose incapacities had done more damage than good!!!" It was a turning point in my career. I was not a graduate of engineering or any related courses dealing with technology, I was a business guy who dabbled with the internals of systems of my time. But it was one event that shook the foundations of pride-in me. It was clear that whatever I wanted to do in my life in taking this career shift would be uncompromising. This event led me to take on a post-graduate study on technology studies dealing primarily with information technology. It was a hard earned degree out of the original 28 students in the class. Only 2 came out with a degree fortunately I was one of the lucky two (2) who made it.
I always tell my subordinates and juniors that career moves are necessary, it is the only way you and the members of the team could have a common shared vision. You must be willing to and bravely tell them the importance of continuing education in the field. Likewise, the importance of certifications. I was an agnostic individual when it comes to certifications however, in today's landscape it means alot to be certified. It has its uses but eventually the person to decide on how your career will take off is you.