With IoT and Big Data demand bringing the data center to the forefront of business operations, the data center manager is being realized as a critical role that extends beyond IT and into every facet of an organization’s success. The role of the data center manager will only become more prominent with 42% of IT decision makers planning to build new data centers over the next 12 to 36 months, according to AFCOM’s 2015 State-of-the-Data Center Survey. As with any seasoned professional, experienced data center managers will form their own management styles to ensure their teams — and data centers — are running at an optimal level. Whether you lean towards new and experimental technologies, or your strategy focuses on known and established practices, it takes a mix of personalities and tactics to run a successful data center!

Based on the Ten Item Personality Measure, a recent personality assessment focused on data center managers ventured beyond the machinery to help data center personnel identify their management styles. Through the “Data Center Manager Personality Test,” respondents were able to better understand if they are a “Go-getter,” “Quantifier,” “Rock,” “Reformer,” or “Collaborator.”  

With 70% of respondents stating that they feel it is part of their role to educate others across the business on complex technical challenges, it is important to take a step back and better define how they can best hone their skills and work with diverse teams.

What type of data center manager are you? Below is a more detailed look at the various different manager personality types, as well a key insights from the assessment:

  • Go-getter: 33% of respondents were identified as adopting this optimistic management style that uses enthusiasm to fuel productivity, making these managers a magnet for those in need of support or guidance. This personality type reigned and outranked all other profiles in the assessment.
  • Quantifier: Ruled more by the head than the heart, the “Quantifier” manager thrives on research and data analysis. That balanced and methodical attitude makes for a very capable and reasonable management style. While approximately 20% of respondents were identified as this personality type, analytical qualities were common throughout the respondent group, with over half saying they reject technologies that are not tried, tested and proven. Additionally, the majority of data center managers base decisions on statistics and enjoy the process of collating evidence.
  • Rock: In the high stress environment of the data center, the “Rock” manager is a dependable, guiding force that colleagues often rely on for counsel and leadership during unexpected troubleshooting. Data center teams are fortunate, as the majority of surveyed managers are adept at juggling, with only one in four feeling overwhelmed by their workload. In addition to successfully multitasking, 62% are confident in their work and are not worried about imminent failures or unknown vulnerabilities.
  • Reformer: While many departments can often fall victim to the comfort of “tried and true” processes, a “Reformer” manager is willing to embark on uncharted territory. This management style does not necessarily imply leaders must take risks, but rather they must have a willingness and curiosity to try new technologies and approaches. With more than two thirds of managers planning an overhaul or a significant upgrade in the near future, data center managers are not short of reformative qualities!  
  • Collaborator: Represented by only 10% of respondents, collaborative managers are unlike their independent go-getter counterparts and work directly with business leaders and alongside IT teams to innovate within the data center. They focus on answering questions, rather than asking them.

Data centers are more than the sum of their electronic parts and, in addition to cooling, power and computing equipment, it takes a whole host of personalities to keep everything running smoothly.

As with any profession, data center managers should evaluate their own strengths and work styles to build an effective program and team. By better understanding themselves, they can hone their abilities to further establish their role as a leader — both within the data center and across an entire organization.