Using Strengths to Achieve Your Team’s Vision

December 8, 2015 Janna S.

MichaelMy name is Michael B., and I am a team lead at Daxko. I lead a team of software engineers that monitors our production environment and squashes bugs for our customers. I started at Daxko in October of 2014 in an automation role on our infrastructure team and accepted an offer for my current team lead position in February of 2015. I love my job because I am inspired every day by my team lead and peers, and I am provided endless opportunity to grow and develop my career. 

At Daxko, we call our managers “Team Leads” because we place a fundamental importance on that person’s ability to lead their team in the right direction. One of the most important responsibilities of a team lead is our dedication to offering big challenges that require our teams to develop big ideas, instead of developing these big ideas ourselves. This is the definition of empowerment. Each team member at Daxko – whether they are a direct report, a team lead, or both – is empowered to make monumental contributions to their team and to this company by employing their strengths to push their team in the direction of its vision.  

My first realization of this principal was in my tactical role on the infrastructure team in 2014. My team lead, Matt C., recognized the need for greater visibility into our production environment and proposed this project to our team: “Build a monitoring infrastructure that provides increased visibility into our production environment.” That’s it. Our team spent the next 3 months implementing a framework that elegantly solved this exact problem. We implemented the ELK stack for shipping and aggregating web logs, Sensu for server availability and statistics, Graphite for collecting time-series event stream data, and Grafana for creating awesome graphs and dashboards that make sense to everyone from our tactical team members to our CEO. There was an inspiring amount of empowerment and freedom surrounding this project, and our team really felt that we were using our skill sets to solve an organization-wide problem for Daxko.

Instead of providing a structured set of rules for each project my team works on, I strive to provide the broader vision and let my team decide how best to accomplish that vision. This brews innovation and creativity on our team and allows team members to make decisions that force them to use their strengths when accomplishing a task. It turns out that this approach provides an astounding amount of opportunity for our team members here at Daxko. For example, a team member on my team realized she didn’t particularly enjoy writing code. She chose to contribute to the team in a way that accentuated her strengths around communication and collaboration. She dominated this role, solved some really tough problems, and has since accepted an offer for a promotion to a leadership role on our Customer Success team. In fact, in the last 2 years, we have promoted five team members from my team to different teams within our organization for seeking out opportunities and dominating them. This is a company-wide practice at Daxko. 

One of my favorite quotes is from Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.”

I have this quote posted on the wall above my desk. As a leader, I know Daxko’s people are our biggest assets. If we hire motivated team members, provide them with a vision, and then inspire them to reach this vision, our team members will use their strengths to capitalize on this opportunity and accomplish great things for Daxko and their careers.  


Tech the Halls features posts from developers, designers, and engineers every Tuesday in December. Want to grow your career at Daxko? Check out our current opportunities.

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