I stood in front of about 40 IT professionals in my university community at a brown bag lunch today and uncovered something I was hoping no one had noticed: this IT Manager really only knows a handful of things about IT.
I can blame it on a number of factors:
1) The pace at which the change is moving, driven by the consumerization and mobilization of IT, makes it a full-time endeavor to stay current on engadget, cnet, gizmodo, etc. - and sometimes, shucks, I would just rather surf on Zappos.
2) I'm too busy with other tasks to swap out a motherboard or review the benefits of solid state drives, along with lots of other distractions that are fun but not fruitful for me.
3) That's not what I'm paid to do anymore. And that's the key. In most cases, we have the jobs we have because of our strengths. Harry Kraemer, in the book From Values To Action, discusses the notion that, instead of berating ourselves for our weaknesses, we should focus on improving our strengths and also surround ourselves with people who excel in areas we are weak. In my case, I no longer rely on screwdrivers and external drives as my tools. My tools are self-reflection, seeking out differing viewpoints, knowing what I know and what I don't know, and keeping things in perspective. The tools of leadership. I'm more likely to be listening to someone who knows that IT is somehow involved in their problem or solution and my role is to connect them with the resources, the experts, the funding, the answers.
Harry made me realize that value-based leadership expects you to kill the whale in your life.