My next step into the managerial role was towards Information Security, where ACLs and NMAPs were not part of the vocabulary AT ALL. A simple analogy: think of Google maps, when you search for your street. At 50m (200 feet) distance, you can clearly see your street name, the junctions and the color of the roofs. From 500m (2000 feet), street names disappear and now you just have a blurry view of the details, however your placement in neighborhood start to become clearer, as does your vision of the “big picture”. This is where I struggled to accept my new reality: The details (or the HOW) were gradually vanishing from daily tasks, being replaced by a better understanding of security within the organization (WHY).
One thing is worth mentioning though: you never “unlearn” something in the process of becoming a manager; instead a new set of “knowledge priority” is built in your mind.
To be an accomplished leader, you should be comfortable with certain soft skills. Stop for a moment and answer the following questions with sincerity:
– Do I feel comfortable standing in front of a crowd of Senior Managers and presenting results/findings?
– How skillful am I influencing my team/peers to do the tasks required to achieve a goal?
– Would I be happy giving up (partly, but sometimes entirely) my hard earned technical sharpness to become a leader?
– Would I be able to cope with high-level report preparation instead of the hands-on activity I performed in the past?
Needless to say that not all management roles require the skills above, but the higher you go on the ladder, the higher these skills will be required from you.
After reading all this, sitting in a manager’s chair doesn’t seem that easy anymore, right? But now let’s look at it from the bright side:
Imagine a professional with a non-technical background (i.e. financial) becoming an IT manager (have you seen it happening before? :)). Perhaps this person already has the soft skills you lack right now, but how easy would it be for him/her to get the grasp about the IT technicalities? Believe me: it takes several years to build a solid technical foundation, whereas the soft skills will be gradually absorbed throughout your career from the beginning, so by the time you accept the managerial role, you already have a reasonable idea on how to manage. Being a Brazilian citizen I see it happening everyday in our football clubs: players becoming coaches, with a considerable rate of success. I’m sure that will be your case too!
Furthermore, as a technical person moving into management, your role in the organization will likely be to effectively bridge the gap between those involved in the business aspect of the company and those holding down the IT security jobs.
Finally, you should make sure that you do not micromanage just because you used to hold an IT security career and you miss it or think you can do it better than your team members. Learn how to sit back and let your people do their IT Security jobs as long as they are performing them effectively and interfere only when you absolutely have to. And the most important advice of all, don’t fear being incapable of acting as a manager. Life is a constant change and it’s up to us to improve ourselves by opening up our minds and accept new challenges. If you plan right, perform regular self-assessments and keep a positive attitude you’ll be better able to savor the good meals at the fancy restaurants. Bon appetite! 🙂
-Adriano Dias Leite
Pages: 1 2