Reconnecting leaders with their employees

By Dr. Brian J. Haw. 
Dr. Haw is Associate Director of Technology at AT&T Mobility Services LLC

We are all very aware of the speed in which IT moves and its impact on our lives, our application ecosystems, and specifically our data centers. To keep up, we make adjustments… choosing cheaper suppliers, shortening deadlines, and right sizing the workforce. The life’s blood of our industry is adapt or fail and necessary calculations are made to keep the machine running. In essence we are re-prioritizing what is important for the current environment. But, perhaps, it is time for us to pause and rest our intentions and align them with what our core values should be. The question then comes to pass, what of the workforce? Are the people that work for us agents geared toward meeting metrics or can they be something more? Do they still have a seat at the table for value creation?

Our solution is to adapt by fielding a human-centric approach to leadership. We believe the notion of driving maximum efficacy is intertwined with empowering the workforce. If we endeavor for  empowering our teams then the desired results and efficiency will come to fruition. We must start on the ground floor. Take for instance the term “supervisor”. I, for one, do not consider myself a supervisor in title. Even the word itself is counterintuitive to efficiency — “Super’ from the Latin above and “Visor” meaning to see. The word literally means to be above someone and looking down on him/her for flaws. It spawns this fog of obscured thinking that acting in a supervisory “command and control” manner will increase productivity and moral. This could not be further from the truth. The old-fashioned way of subjugating by supervising creates a border wall to efficiency in that the organization is throttled back by a single person with too much power. Each person has his/her own wealth of experience and skillsets, which can be summed together as a valuable pool of workforce.

Stated another way, each person in our space has latent potential. As the industry evolves, we can view it in one of two ways. The first, the kinetic portion is not present therefore workers are needed less. The second states that productivity and innovative ideas are needed now more than ever, and people are the treasure chests in which this kinetic energy is trapped. Leadership then becomes the key. We urge each of you to be the key; do not be the lock. 

Dr. Brian Haw brings over 19 years of experience in the telecommunications/IT arena working for two Fortune 20 companies, Verizon and AT&T. Specifically, half of this time has been spent immersed in the data center space at AT&T. Capitalizing on his passion for technical IT leadership, Brian was interviewed and published in Authority Magazine in September 2019. Lastly, Brian is a champion of maximizing human potential of the data center team to bring about the upmost efficiency of the site.


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