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Criteria of Team Work Player

By abc098 ·
Dear friends,

Recently I have technical arguments with IT staff from different department relating to DNS. We are a not a large organization, but we have a deep hierarchical organization structure.

I admit that I do not have the quality of a good team work player though I have the technical skill required to administer all of the DNS servers in this organizations.

What is the criteria of a good quality team work player ? How am I suppose to improve myself in a team ?

Or is there are some "trigger keywords" being used doing the argument that make the argument heated ?

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Well without a specific situation

by j.lupo In reply to Criteria of Team Work Pla ...

there are several things you need to work on to be a good team player. First, is learning how to listen. Good communication comes from good listening skills. Don't just hear the words, listen to the meaning of what someone is saying to you.

Team players respect each others points of view. They work to explain each position and then find a middle ground that will work. Don't get caught with a solution in your head and you stop listening to other ideas and thoughts. You may be right, but you could equally be wrong.

Arguments happen when the two or more sides stop communicating and listening. Being a good team member means you need to work on interpersonal skills, help other members of the team out, and let them help you out. Don't judge others. Give them a chance. Work things out and keep your focus on solutions instead of problems/issues.

Also, keep emotion out of all of it. It just gets in the way, is unprofessional, and doesn't do anyone any good.

Good Luck

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The situation

by abc098 In reply to Well without a specific s ...

Thank you.

You are right about the emotion thing.

I am the DNS administrator for the organization I work with. Our DNS structure is quite complicated. Even my asisstant manager who have 12 years of working knowledge in networking have some trouble understanding our DNS structure.

Now, the situation. It was in a meeting between our team member, a software consultant and a data centre provider. The software consultant just started to work in contract basis with us. His job is to support, maintain and upgrade an enterprise level application system for our students (we are private university). During the meeting he and my manager suggested (without my knowledge) to move all of our DNS to the data centre provider.

Now, I'm not going to explain to you how our DNS structure is, because it would probably required a long article just to explain it.

So, anyway, after I have explain it to the network engineer from the data centre provider, they did not have the capability nor the expertise to host special DNS for our special kind of environment.

Eventually, I found out my manager was the one who suggested to the management so that we host all of our DNS to the data centre provider. And his way of "outsource policy" is not something new. For him, it better to outsource because he want to keep his ***. However, from my experience, it is not difficult to administer DNS. My concern is that if we outsource our DNS to the data centre or to any other third party, we might have to change the way the user accessing the Internet.

The thing is during the meeting, after I told them that it is not possible nor logical to host DNS at the data centre, the software consultant said (with arrogant) "can, everything can be done, they (the data centre provider) should be able what, we have money, we can pay you as long as you can do it". Well it was not the money, but from history record there was other DNS consultancy company who tried to find solution to host our DNS, eventually they back out after I explain with facts and showing some output to them.

But, anyway, what the software consultant had said that made me **** off, really, **** off. But fortunately I managed to keep it to myself. However, after that, I send an email explaining why the DNS could not be outsource. As a result, we were called by our IT manager for an internal meeting (without the software consultant). During the meeting he stress out the importance of team work. I don't see the point of stressing the importance of team work because as far as I'm concern, the suggestion of outsourcing DNS was not discussed with me at all before the assistant manager submit proposal to the management. It does not matter whether the assistant manager or the management who decided to outsource the DNS. What matters that if related to DNS, it *must* be discussed with me as I am the DNS administrator, I am the one who setup DNS in the first place according to DNS protocol, not according to my own rules. You cannot just simply use your own rules in setting up DNS, because I did that when I first tried to learn setup my own DNS in 2001 and I can't even access my DNS even from within the same LAN.

Although what you suggest are quite true, but do you think that trust should also matters ?

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It sounds to me as if you got put in a tough spot

by Tig2 In reply to The situation

The software consultant needs to make himself look good and will do whatever it takes for him to do so.

You are right. They were talking about an area in which you are the SME. And it sounds like they tried to get around you.

From a team perspective, another way to handle that situation is to request some time away from teh discussion. Ask what they hope to accomplish with the change. Take some time and do a high level analysis on the request. That way, you are only confining yourself to the change and not what you KNOW the impact will be. Come back to the team and tell them what will happen if they continue with the idea.

It sounds to me that where people saw you as inflexible was at the point of saying "we CAN'T do this". That is hard because I think what you wanted to communicate is "We SHOULD'T do this for sound business reasons".

I frequently remind myself as challenges come up that I have a sound rationale for walking away and ordering my thoughts. That way I can present the best information and help business to make better decisions.

You will find the unscrupulous throughout your career. The trick is to identify them and learn to place buffers between you and them.

Best of luck!

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Your title said it all

by abc098 In reply to It sounds to me as if you ...

Thanks Tiggertwo. Your title of reply is really accurate. Your opinion also the same with what I've been thinking. But I don't know whether it would work or not. (asking their intention)

On your statement "The software consultant needs to make himself look good". :-). I am not trying to mock you out. (Writing is different than explaining it face-to-face, you probably don't know the other people intention). FYI I don't think he need to be that way. The application that he had developed, had been sold as part of a 7 figures contract to a rich government in middle-east.

In any case, if my boss said that it was the decision of the management to outsource the DNS, I have no choice rather than to find solution to it. It is a top-down culture.

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That doesn't mean you couldn't...

by j.lupo In reply to Your title said it all

approach management by indicated you want to research the best way to meet the outsourcing needs. Then do a detailed analysis of the system, aligning it to what management wants to acheive, and finally provide a presentation showing what the system is today and if outsourced what the changes would be.

I believe that by showing you are not opposed to the outsourcing, but are concerned about the business and service of the applications, that management may be more receptive.

You are right that we don't know the people, we only can go by what you describe and explain. However, there are all different kinds of people. We have to teach ourselves to ignore the personality and stay to the business. Now by ignore, I don't mean that the way it sounds I just couldn't think of the right word.

Keep things focused on the issue, don't let personality, ego, and those types of things get in the way. If you feel yourself losing control, take a breather. Ask for a break to think and absorb what is being discussed. I have done this and it is usually acceptable as long as deadlines are not going to be affected greatly.

Top-down culture doesn't mean you give up. It just means you need to show WHY the company (or bosses) should reconsider their view. You are trying to be competent enough and educate them on what it is the system is doing today. You don't have to get too detailed, but you do need to explain in terms they understand.

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Presuming that there is an actual "need"

by Too Old For IT In reply to That doesn't mean you cou ...

Presuming that there is an actual "need" to outsource, beyond a "heroin junkie"-like addiction to reducing in house staff.

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Unfortunately - I have seen too much of

by j.lupo In reply to Presuming that there is a ...

the lets outsource cause it reduces our overhead with in house staff. So, "need" isn't the point. They do it anyway a lot of the time.

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TT - you nailed it on the head there

by j.lupo In reply to It sounds to me as if you ...

As usual your advise is clear and appropriate to a situation. We are all human and we all have our own ego's (knowledge is an ego building thing too, you don't realize it until someone challenges what you KNOW).

The important thing is to think through the situation carefully, pick your words carefully, and address the issue from a business relationship. As long as you remain professional, you have done all you can.

Another concern I have, is when they went around you to a consultant. I know from my current position as a software engineering consultant that we include the right people in the right meetings to achieve our results. I have insisted since I was pushed (uh I mean promoted) to my current role that we include certain representatives within the affected areas for different meetings. I don't always know who they are, but I do my best to find out.

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Good Team Player

by silvana_s In reply to Criteria of Team Work Pla ...

In my opinion a good team player is someone who will use his knowledge to advise others in the team of the pro's and con's. A team player also tries to understand why and what opinion others have. From there he should be able to find solutions which keeps in mind the general needs and views of others even if this means giving in. The most important thought for me is that Only a team can win, a single person in a team cannot be a winner. So make sure ideas are built together.

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Ask *them* what their definition is...

by "Mysterious In reply to Criteria of Team Work Pla ...

I've always defined a team as a group of two or more working toward a stated, agreed-on goal. You did not agree to work on outsourcing your organization's DNS, so clearly, you are not part of that "team," and cannot be expected to be a "good player." No, the "trigger keywords" used were "not a team player." It was meant as a put-down, a pure insult. They cannot fault you on your technical expertise, so they choose to insult you in this fashion, hoping to quiet you down by shaming you publically. When this sort of thing happens, I always start looking for who's going to benefit. Follow the money. Is the boss going to get a kick-back from the consultant or the hosting company? The answer might be quite enlightening. We all know from painful experience that you cannot ever get the same or even similar service levels from an outsourced service, simply because the outsourcer's interests do not always coincide with yours. We know that the loss of control will cost money in the long run, and that short-term solutions are usually always short-sighted as well. Forget being a "good team player," and just be a good employee. Outline the long-term costs and concerns, and put a clear monetary cost on the inefficiencies and difficulties that will befall your organization should this effort go forward. And one final note: the fact that you acknowledge your perceived shortcoming as a "team player" indicates you have the potential to become a really good one. Corner that lying weasel who insulted you, and get his take on what a "good team player" is. Examine the answer, accept what is constructive criticism, and toss out what's just destructive nonsense. That will give you the reputation of somebody who cares about being a "good team player," whether it's true or not. As we all know, perception is the only reality that matters.

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