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Learning The Art of Letting Go & Trusting Your Team

Most people will tell you that letting go is one of the hardest things you’ll ever be asked to do, no matter the context. Recently, I have had to face this fact at Dyn. But in so doing, I’ve learned something else, something that I believe is equally important to know in the workspace.

Whether you believe it or not, trusting your team can be the easiest thing you’ll ever be asked to do and for me, these two things have gone hand in hand.

Let me explain.

Trust FallUntil the past few months, my duties at work have largely been as an individual contributor on both our Concierge and Implementation teams. I loved getting my hands dirty, diving into the issues or questions customers had and coming up with solutions. I had direct connection with our customers and crafted my responses as if I were to be the recipient.

I would take Implementation deals with no questions asked, especially if it was a potential customer whom I loved. For our Concierge team, I would dive into our ticket queue every morning and help out out a bit by taking on-call shifts or answering phones — all without caveat or complaint.

With every task announced, I was chomping at the bit.

Fast forward to today and my job duties have evolved into something very different but just as important: setting the vision for the enterprise side of Client Services, collaborating across teams here at Dyn as the customer advocate, being involved in countless projects and lending my hand with escalations from our Concierge and Implementation teams. Being involved at this level has energized me even more and has led to some really positive changes for the team and our customers. I love this new set of duties just as much as my previous duties.

Yet, I’ve learned over the past few weeks that you really can’t sit in both worlds as I’ve been attempting to do for most of the past five months. In order to see the big picture, I cannot be intimately involved at the individual contributor level. In order to simply have time to accomplish my new duties, I need to give up my old ones. Last I checked, there are only 24 hours a day and roughly one-third of them are supposed to be spent on your career. Any more for an extended period of time and you risk burning out.

Two events hammered this point home for me.

A few months ago, one of our client services managers asked for volunteers to help out with an on-call shift. Out of habit, I immediately volunteered if no one else would do the shift. The problem was this wasn’t one of my duties anymore and the manager rightfully let me know this. It was the responsibility of his team, not me, to cover that shift. He had a whole team that could pitch in if someone had a rough night of on-call and came in late, but there isn’t anyone who can easily replace me if I had a rough night of on-call.

In my excitement, I hadn’t considered this at all but he was right!

Just two weeks ago, I was sitting in on an implementation call with one of our larger customers — just a fly on the wall that was only monitoring the conversation given who the customer was. After a bit of just sitting there and listening, I decided to answer a question that came up and within seconds, I was in full blown Implementation Specialist mode, completely taking over.

I didn’t even realize I was doing this and it was as if it was seven months ago. While I did a great job, I made a grave error. I prevented the Implementation Specialist from doing their job. When I realized this after the call, I felt awful and couldn’t apologize enough.

Of course, I could do the tasks at hand, but I was inadvertently sending the signal that I didn’t trust my team to do their jobs.

How can I do my assigned duties when I am doing my team’s jobs too? How can I ensure my teams have the resources they need if I’m masking a resource shortage? That helps no one in the long run and causes issues to pile up where they could become a much bigger problem later on. I certainly don’t want to become known as a micro-manager, so I had to step back.

Now, I’m not the primary Implementation Specialist for any potential or new customers as I have an entire team that specializes in this. I won’t be doing tickets in our Concierge queue as that’s what our awesome Concierge team does. Instead, I’m going to do my assigned job duties and work to excel at those.

You know what? I’m ok with that. I trust my team to do their job and they trust me to do mine. For the Dyn community, trust is a defining facet and in order for that community and that team to function at highest capacity, it’s crucial to understand how short you can risk coming up without it.


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Whois: Chris Gonyea

Chris Gonyea was Product Manager, Traffic Management at Dyn, a pioneer in managed DNS and a leader in cloud-based infrastructure that connects users with digital content and experiences across a global internet.