Question-   IT Manager Interview Questions And Answers.

Solution-

Technology Manager Interview

 

 

This is the Conceptual Framework and factors I will be looking for using the Corbin and Strauss Analytic Tool.  I will be specifically looking throught he PERSONAL EXPERIENCE analytic tool and the comments in the comments section are my codes for this one analytic tool. 

 

 

 

Knowledge of Culture of Inquiry

Factual:Managers need to know what the components of research are.

Procedural:Managers need to know how to build staff’s capacity to engage in inquiry. Conceptual: Managers need to know the elements of a culture of inquiry.

Metacognitive:Managers need to know how to assess their own actions to determine if they are supporting or impeding the construction of a safe environment in which staff are afforded opportunities to learn and improve their practice.

 

 

 

 

Green-Hands on management 12 times

Yellow-Hands off management 6 times

 

Blue- allowing mistakes 8 times

Red- not allowing mistakes 5 times

 

 

I would like to start by asking you some questions about your experience as a team leader/manager. 

  1. Tell me about your leadership style. How would you describe yourself as a leader?

What do you mean by that?

T:   That they … I’m the boss, they need to come to me, bosses can be perceived like that. If you are trying to have a team effort then you want to be able to show them that. So coming to them after I am on the phone[M3] [M4] [M5] [M6] [M7] is something that I do all the time.

  1. If one of your staff was asked about your leadership style, what would he or she say about you?

T:   They would say that I set high standards, that I adhere to those, insist that those standards be adhered to but also that I am very good at assisting those individuals to achieve those goals. They would also say that if there are problems, I am right there and if things are going very, very smoothly, I am pretty hands off.

  1. Think about a recent time (e.g., a meeting or an interaction with one of your staff) that you think represents the way you operate as a leader. Describe it to me.

T:   A meeting with a particular staff member who had a particularly unique personality who was bright and hardworking but was not very amenable to criticism and in order to keep the meetings form being confrontational and in this particular meeting I said “okay things are going reasonably well right now[M8] [M9] [M10] [M11] . Next year we are bringing on another staff member. How do you see your job changing either with that person doing some of your work or other work. And that person showed me that she had substantial vision and that she had really thought about it and that she could really go to the next level if she were given the opportunity and tools to do so.

  1. What do you think are the most important things you do as a leader?

T:   I set the example. I provide my staff with the tools they need to succeed and I protect is not the right word but I make sure that they don’t have to worry about people above me getting into their business, that I am the only one they are really accountable towards and that I am going to protect them from external criticism or attempts to give them guidance. I mean it’s not that a boss higher than me can’t give guidance but it is confusing for everyone so I make sure that things filter through me so that there is a consistent voice and so that the trajectory we are on we stay on. So when my boss wants to takes my team members to do A, B, and C I say task me[M12] [M13] [M14] [M15] and I will make sure that it gets done but howit gets done and by whom is my call. And I think they would say that I lead by example.

  1. What do you think you do well as a leader?

T: I have vision

What does that mean to you?

T:   I have a pretty good grasp of the big picture, where we need to go, where we want to go. I also have a pretty good talent for detail where the details that are often overlooked are important I can make sure they are brought up and being addressed. I think people would say that my integrity is totally without question and that I am not a zero defect guy.

What does that mean?

T:   My people can make mistakes. One of my team members lost two laptops[M16] [M17] [M18] [M19] while working for me. I made her pay for the second and I didn’t make her pay for the first one.

That is a mistake that is not directly related to her work product or effort. Would you put that in terms of work product?

T:   A situation with the same team member who got sideways (at cross purposes) with another team member from another part of the organization and the other member wanted to meet with me about what had happened or not happened and I insisted that Donna be in that meeting so that her input would be considered and addressed and that was not a welcome development at the beginning of the conversation but it turned out to be very valuable at the end because we came to resolution of all of the issues. I had to remind that team member that we all worked for the same organization and making things easier for her was not Donna’s job[M20] [M21] [M22] [M23] .

  1. What do you think you are challenged by as a leader?

T:   I tend to be impatient and that is something I have grappled with all of my professional life. Very seldom does something have to happen instantaneously. I have always beloved don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today. If you give someone two weeks to do something and on day 13 to do something that will cause me concern and yet if that person is talented enough to do it in that amount of time, that is my issue not theirs. The way I would do it is not necessarily the way I would do it. That is pretty important leadership thing, tell them what to do not how to do it. B/c the new innovative better way won’t happen because I am old and stogy if I am telling them both what and how to do it. I have to give them the room to do it the way that they think is best and that might be better than the way that I would have chosen to get it done.

  1. Describe a time when you have been expected by your boss to implement an important change to practice in the company.
  2. Describe a time when you have been confronted with a member of your staff who did not want to change and go forward?
  3. How have you gotten someone who does not work for you to do something to advance your project or initiative?
  4. Tell me a little bit about your experience working with your staff to improve their practice.
    1. What has that been like for you? 
    2.  
  5. How do you feel about the role of questions in the decision making process? How do you use questions when making decisions?

T:   I think they are extraordinarily helpful. Let me flesh that out. The decision-making process I define as the process that occurs, the interaction that occurs up to the time the decision is made. Everyone needs to have input, everyone needs to understand that their input has been listened to and when a decision has been made, it should be shared to the degree it can be. Twice in my career I made a decision that was totally wrong. In one case a youngster called me on it and in another case someone above me called me on it. And it was like, holy shit, what was I thinking of. I changed it immediately[M24] [M25] [M26] [M27] . It only happened twice in 45 years. That is not to say that a question is not going to be listened to it is just better if the questions come before the decision.

How did you get called on it?

T:   The senior guy that called me on it was, I was relatively junior at the time. As much as I thought I had all the facts I didn’t have all the facts and the guy who was the recipient of my decisions wouldn’t give me the facts. He just got angry. I decided at that point was the way to respond to a wrong decision was to rectify it immediately and apologize[M28] [M29] [M30] [M31] .

How would you describe yourself?

    1. Would you call yourself process oriented, product oriented, or both? Tell me about that. What causes you to call yourself (product, process, or both) oriented?

T:   Probably more product oriented although I am interested in the process. I will not, I have tried to make it a point to interfere with the process if it is going to get the desired result unless it is a process I have utilized before and although there is a way to get there my prior experience can be used to ease the way to get the product. The higher you get you need to be more product oriented and the folks below you need to be more process oriented. If you mean my plaque, go for it but don’t screw it up. That was my team’s reaction to when they wanted to do something different I said go for it but don’t screw it up, humorously and they did.

How did they know you meant it as guidance?

T:   Think it through carefully and make sure you are going to get there and these are different ways of doing the regular business. Just make sure that you get done what needs to be done and if it means there will be less work or more work, you guys have to figure that out but I expect you to get the result.

What if they ended up with something less effective?

T: In most cases it wasn’t less effective. In almost every case there were several instances where they went back to the original process when they realized they didn’t have the consistent talent to carry off the other process or they hadn’t thought through everything, they went back to the original tried and true.

    1. Describe an example that you think demonstrates this orientation.
    2. Would you say you are naturally inquisitive? Tell me about a recent time when you think you demonstrated this characteristic.

T:   Yes. I want to know why. I have done it on several occasions, why do we do this process the way that we do it? I want to know why you are doing something this way. The answer is not because that is the way we have always done it. The acceptable answer could be that it is tried and true and this assures that it does occur but not b/c we have always done it this way which suggests that they do it that way just because it has always been done that way. Simple things, when I got to be team leader, there was an “all hands” meeting every week. And I asked why we were doing that when there was nothing new to report and people are coming in late and they hadn’t been trained to think this is important so I asked why we were doing this every week. And the answer was because we had always done it that way. So I asked what would be a better way to do it and they suggested once a month and we changed it[M32] [M33] [M34] [M35] . There were processing guidelines and they would come to me and one of my team members asked why the guidelines came to me and the answer was just because that is how it had been done and we changed it.

    1. Describe your relationship to uncertainty and ambiguity. Are you someone who would rather have right answers or are you comfortable in not knowing, in the exploration of ideas?

T: I think I …. I would rather have a right answer. I think I look for theright answer. But being experienced at what I do and knowing that things are uniquely fact driven you have to be comfortable with the ambiguity on the way to finding out the way what is more right under more circumstances. There has to be an ambiguity and you have to be comfortable with that or at least not uncomfortable with it. That is probably the better way to say it, or maybe that is just splitting semantic hairs.

I am going to switch gears a little bit. I would like to talk with you a little bit about your most recent efforts to cultivate a culture of inquiry amongst your team.

Now I would like to ask you a few questions about how you interact with your team.

  1. How are meetings structured?

T:   I would have meetings with all of my individual team members at a set time individually once a week. And we would share agendas via email prior to the meeting, I am bringing this, what are you brining so we had a list of things we needed to discuss. We would go through what was out there every week. Sometimes the meetings would be 5 minutes, sometimes they would be 2 hours. More often than not they were shorter. I would do that every week with all five team members plus the support staff. Once a month I would have an all hands meeting where we had the principal staff and the troops and that would be to talk about organization wide stuff. Everyone would each ge ta chance to chat about what they wanted to chat about. I kept those things very light and informal[M36] [M37] [M38] [M39] . People did not dread coming to those meetings. They were an hour or less. It was a chance to answer questions, address rumors.

Would you say that is a place where questions were asked?

T:   Yeah, but because I had … because my door is always open, and if I am busy I will get back t you that day, the few zingers that I had, why are we doing this, what is the budget situation, yeah there were questions asked. Everyone knew each other and got along well. It was a small team and that make it easier. I don’t think anyone was afraid to ask questions.

Were questions encouraged?

T:   Yeah. What have you got for me, any oh by the ways, anything we need to cover that is not on the agenda. Normally there wasn’t. there were a couple of festering issues that were not addressed in the meetings, personality issues that I did not know about until there was a problem and then I had to deal with it. One employee was, I had him work from home while we did an investigation. There were questions about where he was and made sure that

  1. What, if any, meeting protocols do you use during your meetings?
  2. Describe a recent meeting to me.

Now I would like to ask you a few questions about your own experiences in your company, with your boss(es).

  1. How would you describe the culture of your organization? Is it a place where questions are welcome?  For example, when you attend meeting with your boss, what types of questions does he/she ask?

T:   Yeah, the boss will ask questions, is this feasible, and also because of my experience he would ask me is this a good idea or a bad idea. If it is a bad idea, what suggestions do you have of getting there in a different manner where we are trying to go. Less so with other members of the management team who tended to focus on singular issues and who often had opinions before you even had a chance to talk to them.

So when you say they had opinions before you even had a chance to talk to them, what did that do to the way you interacted?

T:   It made it delicate from square 1. These are people who could, if they desired, decide not to keep me employed. So in order to steer them away from a bad direction you really have to take the softer approach and not say that is the stupidest direction and instead say that has been tried here and probably don’t have enough information to probably jump on that course of action[M40] [M41] [M42] [M43] . Let me get you more information. Sometimes if a leader is hard over and going in a direction that makes no sense whatsoever, I have to go to another leader and say this could really be problematic and say you really need to figure this out. More often than not the issues would get resolved in the best way but it was time consuming and delicate. Some of the leaders tend to be politically motivated. They have a person who has a set of facts and they want a solution that has further ranging consequences than they have thought through.

Would you say, when that has happened that you could ask probing question to try to get at the heart of the leader’s concern?

T:   Yes, that is what I thought I was saying before, what are you really looking to do here, that would allow for a deeper conversation that can take you somewhere better. I have never been a leader who says that is just problematic and hard. That is the easy way. My job is to help them get where they want to go even if it is not on the route that they planned to travel.

  1. Think back to a recent meeting you had with him/her. Tell me about it. What kinds of questions did he/she ask you?

T:   We had a leader who wanted to have us create a set of requirements that were really restrictive. Her goal was to help the diminishing team find good paying work. It was a noble goal. I had to do a lot of research[M44] [M45] [M46] [M47] [M48] , check to see what other teams were doing at other companies and we finally figured out a way to incorporate what she wanted but notin our work but in the work of an outside contractor who we were hiring.

T:   She asked is this feasible? The answer in many cases was no, it was not feasible. Is there any way we can get there through another approach or can we get part way there and so I consulted with other members of my team and we were able to just squeak by with what she wanted us to do.

  1. What does it feel like to be asked the questions he/she asks? (if necessary, do the questions make you feel like you have done something wrong or are they asked in a way that encourages discussion and thinking?)

T:   Well, it encourages me to do discussion and thinking. I’ve never been unable to just say no, we can’t do that if I know that is all there is. Either it is an area of the work that I am not deeply knowledgeable, then the questions and discussions keep the issue alive until you figure out how to get to the goal.

Do you think she is creating the room for the discussion or does she just want an answer and you are creating the space for the discussion?

T:   She wants an answer, she wants thisanswer and the reason there is a discussion is because I can’t see how I can give her the answer she wants without a great risk to the organization.

  1. Is time for questions allocated during meetings? In other words, is time dedicated to asking questions? What does that look like? Think of a recent time when you were in a meeting. Describe it to me. Who, if anyone, asked questions, what kinds of questions were asked, what did your boss do when the questions were asked?

T:   Same team members, Fred, Juan, Cheng, Jackie, Skye, there would be an agenda. What are we going to do for the next project would be boilerplate and then other things that were coming up or in process and we would discuss them one at a time. Everyone would have their chance to chat[M49] [M50] .

What do you mean by that?

T:   Everyone would give a chance to comment[M51] [M52] [M53] [M54] for as long or deeply as they wanted. Richard was really good about listening to the dialogue and getting the advice before letting us know what he had been thinking. He wanted the benefit of our thinking before he gave us the benefit of his predilection. He gave us the benefit of or thinking.

We’ve got a problem, these are the facts, what do you think? b/c we had really different perspectives we got really good stuff out there. Each team member brought a perspective to it and that generated a lot of good insight into the problem. There might be disagreement but it never got testy.

When there was disagreement, what did it sound like?

T:   Well that sounds great but you haven’t thought about the specific aspect of this particular issue or the fact that this is about one thing and it requires resources that another project would need if we were going to do that. Are we willing to say too bad so sad we are going to take care of this project this year and not take care of the other one until next year? Doing nothing is an option, is always an option.

How would those conversations be resolved?

T:   Richard would ultimately resolve it saying we are going to take that risk or I will talk to (the senior leadership team) about that or it is more important to me so we will take the risk and move on, I am going to do it this way. Unlike in my other company where the risk issue would many times just stop the conversation. Different culture. Probably not that way under different leadership but when I was there that is how it was.

 

  1. When someone brings forward a new idea, how have you seen your boss respond to that new idea?

T:   In most cases excited about the, tell me more. Draw it out, flesh it out. How would we get there, how much would it cost, does it conflict with a current program? Are there personalities that are impediments and what would we do about that. I saw that time and time again. We had pretty rich discussions.

    1. Describe a situation when a new idea was well received.

T:   An example of one of our projects right in the middle of a difficult program, things looked like they were really not working and here are some solutions to what needs to be done to fix that. Oh really, why am I hearing about it now, oh, okay, what should be the next steps, how do we get there? It ended up meaning having to change the team leader. The conversation continued over a relatively short period of time he made the decision to replace the team leader when he discovered the leader had been lying through her teeth to him[M55] [M56] [M57] [M58] .

    1. Describe a situation when a new idea was not well received.
    2. What, if anything, would you say distinguished those two experiences?
  1. How are meetings structured?
    1. How is time spent during meetings?
    2. How frequently are meetings scheduled and what are you expected to do during that time?
    3. What would be an example of a typical meeting (think back to recent meetings and describe one that you would say is typical).
  2. What are people in your organization rewarded for?
    1. What form does the reward take?

T:   Well, um, in my organization, my team, they are rewarded for doing well, working hard, and supporting each other. In the higher level of the organization, I guess you would have to define rewarded means, and sometimes not being the subject of the daily criticism is a reward in and of itself.

Do you think people were rewarded in any ... maybe rewarded isn’t the right word, were people validated for asking questions?

T:   Yes, by asking questions, what you mean by validated which means they were thinking deeper than the surface level asking questions shows me that they are doing it and that validates them as part of the solution.

How would they know that?

T:   I made it a point to let them know that I appreciated what they were doing. I made an effort to do that with everyone at some point. I would bring up what they had done that had been good. I think the feedback they get is how the questions are received. If someone has five or six questions on something that I have opined about and that is part of a discussion that is not rancorous or defensive on my part I think that validates to them and where appropriate I will say I had not thought about that, that is a great point, we need to put that into the mix. Great job. I try to do that whenever that was appropriate. Brenda was always really good at asking questions, have you thought about this, what about this . . . and she is comfortable enough to know that I am not going to bite her head off[M59] [M60] [M61] [M62] .

Now I would like to ask you a few questions about the training you have received in relation to asking questions.

  1. What kind of professional development have been provided for you during your time at the company?
    1. What, if any, PD experiences have you had that are related to questioning? In other words, have you ever spent time learning about the types of questions that you might be asking yourself and your team members during your work?

T:   None. The professional development in the school of hard knocks. When I thought I had a line of questioning that was going to get me the information I needed and then when that didn’t happen and I thought it through afterwards, tone of voice, how you treat the individual, you don’t treat everyone the same, it depends on the type of personality they have. You can ask a question that will put someone on the defensive or you can lead into the discussion, that is something that I had to learn through trial and error. I would have loved to have learned how to do that. I have had other types of PD but not about a collegial leadership type of context. I think it is part of, every effective leader has an epiphany at some point where they realize they don’t have the majority of answers and the key to finding those answers is in the people they are leading and they are a valuable resource assist in the thinking through the problem in order to get the work done.

    1. What, if any, PD experiences have you had in which you might have discussed what critical thinking is and how it might be used in your work?

T:   I have had professional development where we have talked about new team members, women team members wherein different approaches were discussed and, especially in mentoring women team members, I thought I was doing great at training and mentoring my women team members. I learned I was just doing okay[M63] [M64] [M65] [M66] . I learned some things through this PD. When someone has not had leadership opportunities, to put them in a leadership position without the training and support and mentoring along the way before they get to that leadership position, it is 10 times harder and the lack of success is great. That turns out that every interaction with a junior team member has a mentoring aspect to it. You assess what worked and what didn’t without necessarily being negative about what was done or not done. That was great, that wasn’t great, why wasn’t it. What do you thing? You know.


 [M1]Corbin and Strauss Analytic Tool

Coding analysis tool: DRAWING ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

 [M4]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: example of being on phone then going to team for team effort

 [M6]CONCEPTUAL, METACOGNITIVE

 [M8]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: questioning style during meeting, gives solution and self-reflects on what learned from that person’s vision and that she has potential to grow as an employee if given tools to do so

 [M10]PROCEDURAL, CONCEPTUAL, METACOGNATIVE

 [M12]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: how handles boss and takes the responsibility for the team members and accountability example. Then infers that “leads by example” from this personal experience

 [M14]FACTUAL, PROCEDURAL

 [M16]PERSONAL  EXPERIENCE: made pay for second not the first mistake. Sends message on learning from mistakes

 [M18]PROCEUDRAL,

 [M20]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: learned from beginning of meeting to the end to listen and was willing to pivot on opinion of situation

 [M22]METACOGNITIVE, CONCEPTUAL

 [M24]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: learned to pivot again from something once did to learning about it and realizing change in behavior would help situation.

 [M26]METACOGNITIVE

 [M28]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: learned from a boss the negative impact of not having all of the facts or listening.  Immediately rectified and apologized.

 [M30]CONCEPTUAL, METACOGNITIVE

 [M32]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: asked questions why always “did it that way” and what  the current process did, found out that it was ineffective so had no issues with changing process.

 [M34]PROCEDURAL,

 [M36]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: changed meeting style for culture of inqury and adapted.

 [M38]PROCEDURAL, CONCEPTUAL,

 [M40]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: soft approach for change ideas so creates culture of inquiry

 [M42]FACTUAL, CONCEPTUAL, PRODEDURAL

 [M44]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: researched why manager did what they did before

 [M47]METACOGNITIVE

 [M49]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: outlined meeting and time to chat for all.

 [M51]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: all had chance to chat for as long as wanted

 [M53]PROCEDURAL

 [M55]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: it appeared one way, then after discussions, decisions to change were made.

 [M57]METACOGNITIVE, PROCEDURAL

 [M59]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: acted upon a situation giving feedback, positive, pointed out who asked questions and positive feedback example

 [M61]PROCEDURAL

 [M63]PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: looked at situation and then reevaluated personal self efficacy, reflection

 [M65]METACOGNITIVE

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