DevOps Institute

[EP60] Proactive Honesty: The Art of Telling the Truth


On this episode of the Humans of DevOps, Jason Baum is joined once again by DevOps Institute Ambassador, Professional speaker, Straight Talk for Government chapter President, Senior Principal with MITRE Corporation and all-around Rockstar Tracy Bannon (@TracyBannon). Tracy discusses the human skill of proactive honesty – what it is, why it’s important to software and DevOps organizations, how to be honest, proactive versus reactive and more.

Trac was on episode 44 of the Humans of DevOps where we learned about her journey into IT and being a dev married to an ops. If you didn’t catch that episode, please be sure to listen.

Want access to more DevOps-focused content and learning? Gain the tools, resources and knowledge to help your organization adapt and respond to challenges by becoming a member of DevOps Institute. Get started for free:

Have questions, feedback or just want to chat about the podcast? Send us an email at

Find a lightly edited transcript below.

Narrator 00:02
You’re listening to the humans of DevOps podcast, a podcast focused on advancing the humans of DevOps through skills, knowledge, ideas and learning, or the SKIL framework.

Tracy Bannon 00:16
In all this talk about honesty, there’s another piece to this, you know, you can make a mistake and there are times we also need to learn to say you’re sorry. And there are apologies. And there are I’m sorry.

Jason Baum 00:33
Hey, everyone, it’s Jason Baum, Director of Member experience at DevOps Institute. And this is The Humans of DevOps Podcast. Welcome back. And thank you for joining us for our 60th episode. Today we’ll be chatting with a friend of the show professional speaker, DevOps Institute Ambassador, straight talk for government chapter president, Senior Principal with MITRE Corporation, software engineering division, and all-around Rockstar Trac Bannon. Last time, Trac was on the show episode 44, we learned about her journey into IT and being a dev married to an ops you have to listen to the show to hear more about that advice for the humans of DevOps, and so much more. So if you didn’t catch that episode, please be sure to listen. This time around. We’re just gonna dive right into the human skills topic of proactive honesty. So with that, Tracy, welcome to the show again,

hey, this is so fun. I actually sound like I might like this trace ban in person.

Jason Baum 01:38
She’s She sounds like she does quite a bit.

Tracy Bannon 01:41
There are days where I need naps. That’s all I’m putting out there.

Jason Baum 01:44
Well, yeah, I’m sure you do. Because you must not sleep at night to do everything that you will accomplish. So appreciate you coming back on the show. As everybody learned on the episode last week, we are kind of refocusing what we’re doing on the podcast, we are getting into more topics-specific topic-oriented programs for the next few episodes. And for this one, we are talking about something really important proactive honesty. You know, what does it mean? Why is it relevant? All of those things? So I mean, this is a pretty important topic, Trey. So tell us, what do we mean by proactive honesty?

Tracy Bannon 02:29
Well, so let’s, let’s talk about it in the light of proactive versus reactive honesty. So I don’t think that anybody likes the term reactive honesty. And I had this really interesting conversation I was talking to my husband, like, proactive honesty is like, what the heck is that? Is that where you feel like you have to jump the gun and be honest about something? said, No, let’s talk about an example. Let’s frame it in an example. And yes, I’m gonna, I’m gonna talk about my ops guy. I said, maybe, look, do you know those times where I might want to go and do something and I’ve asked you about it. And you kind of forget about it, and I don’t bring it up. Because maybe it’s not that important. But maybe it is. If I’m being proactive, I’ll actually say to you, Hey, sweetheart, we’re gonna, we’re gonna miss that opportunity. This is something that I wanted to do, I don’t want to be let down. Reactive honesty is waiting until the day after, and saying, you know, we could have gone out to that XYZ yesterday, but she forgot. So there’s a reactive honesty is coming at you after the fact. And you really have to be questioning why you are bothering with reactive honesty, proactive honesty, right? Is it looking ahead and understanding where do I need to have executive courage? Where do I need to be bold, and to help to steer the different things that are going on, whether it’s in my microcosm, or if it’s a little bit bigger than that? Does that make sense to you, Jason?

Jason Baum 04:02
It does. And I know, you know, from communication skills, and I’m a communication major, that there are multiple levels of communication and multiple levels of honesty in communicating. Like starting with being shut down, where you’re where there’s nothing, and then yeah, and then reactive and then we get to, to proactive. So what do we mean by proactive? I guess, you know, we just talked about reactive.

Tracy Bannon 04:39
Also proactive is being bold to tell the truth about a situation. Whether it is about a people process tech culture doesn’t matter. But it’s before it’s too late, while there’s still an opportunity to take action on it. to course correct to make a difference with it. Reactive means that I let it happen. I kind of watch it happen. It’s not my job, right? It’s not my thing I told you. So reactive proactive is, Hey, Jason was thinking about the meeting that’s coming up on Friday. And I think that we might get into some problems talking about Topic number two, maybe we should talk to XYZ. Maybe we should take it off the agenda, right? Proactive. Is that stepping up before? Before the mistakes happen, even when it’s really difficult? Because one of the reasons we don’t like Proactiv honesty is we’re afraid of it. Right? And nobody wants to, it’s difficult to be honest anyways, because we are concerned that we’re going to be rejected, right? Where we’re concerned that maybe there’s not safety, there’s not that psychological safety to say the things that need to be said. So it’s actually really difficult to be proactively honest.

Jason Baum 06:01
Yeah, you put yourself out there, right. Oh, gotcha. Yeah, you’re very vulnerable. When you’re proactively honest. Reactive, honestly, is almost like you’re almost like Monday morning, Monday morning quarterbacking the situation. So no one wants to talk to that person. That’s annoying. And yeah, and proactive. Honesty is, is extremely, it’s extremely difficult and very, and you make yourself very vulnerable. So then why is it so important?

Tracy Bannon 06:31
Well, so if we’re going, to be honest, if we’re going to have an environment based on trust, and let’s track this back, this is the humans of DevOps, right? We’re talking about software and software-intensive systems and being able to solve problems with software. Well, I need to feel comfortable and confident enough, in my opinion, in sharing that out on whatever the people, process, tech, whatever that aspect is. So let’s say that my own design that I’ve put out there for there’s a new feature coming out. And I actually don’t think that I’ve, I’ve done it the right way, I realized Partway into it, that I’ve made a mistake, I have a couple options. One option is to see if I can cobble it up just enough to get it through and may have some defects against it, or may have a low number of defects, but it’s going to be okay, but it’s not scalable. We’re gonna run into some problems. Proactively. I sit down and say, Okay, guys, this is not going to get into this will be finished by the end of the sprint, here’s why I need to turn I need to track this back. Some people are worried that you know because we’re changing our culture, right? We’re getting into a culture of experimentation, a culture of successes and failures. It’s hard to be that to put yourself out there as failing. So telling the truth in that situation, being real, being that proactive honesty is stepping up. Gotta take action on this right now. We can’t wait for it. Now that’s that would be me talking about myself personally. But what if I see that Jason heads down, and his personal list, the personal things that he’s pulling off the backlog are bigger than he can take on? Well, I can mind my own business and let Jason pull the late-night hours and try to do the herculean thing and maybe make some mistakes and actually hurt himself, in the long run, his own well-being. Or maybe I can be practical. And I can talk to Jason or I can talk to the scrum master or I can talk to those around us and say what do we do to raise this person up. So it is helping us to set a set of well-being environment so that we can actually succeed? It is the design and the delivery of the software that we’re going to get out.

Jason Baum 08:50
And it kind of works the other way too, for me, right? I’m taking on so much. And maybe I realized that and it’s the type of environment where I can share that opinion, freely. Right. And share the fact that hey, you know what, I think I’m taking on too much. And I’m not going to be shut down for that. Right? Opinion. Right? That’s that’s creating that safe culture, that safe environment where we can share and be proactively honest, without maybe not lack of validation, or…

Tracy Bannon 09:26
Do you see where that could go awry? A little bit too. Oh, yeah. So this gets into, honestly, why are you being honest? Right? I jokingly say that but there’s truth to that. When you’re about to step into a proactive honesty situation. It is a decision that you’re making, right? We’re not We’re not five-year-olds who are walking down the street. Mommy, that lady has on a funny dress, mommy that are that dead guy over there. That man has a big belly like we’re not just spouting off our observations just because We are not unfiltered. So and honestly asking why we’re being honest, we need to understand what are we seeking to gain from that? Are we doing it because maybe I’m jealous of Jason? Jason’s getting all the stars in his column. I’m having a harder time picking up on this, but I’m doing it and everybody likes my work. Okay. But Jason, he’s taken on too much. He’s too much of a rockstar. Maybe Jason knows that. And maybe Jason That’s his. That’s his thing right now. And he’s, he’s cool with it. Maybe he’s already made a decision about that and has buy-in from his listeners. Well, I need to take a step back and ask myself why I’m going down that pathway because honesty is about being honest. To be honest, we need to honestly ask why we’re being honest. Right? There’s it isn’t. It isn’t only Hey, everybody. Today, we’ve decided that we’re all going to be honest to be with, wasn’t it? Was there a movie was it with Mel Gibson, where he was, all of a sudden, he couldn’t not hear the truth and hear what people were saying. And would just like, react to it, and speak it out loud. And he couldn’t filter himself. I think it was him. That’s it. Same thing here. This is not about being unfiltered at all.

Jason Baum 11:15
Yeah, that’s good, that’s a really good point like that. And that’s hard to differentiate sometimes between a culture where you can share your opinions and ideas freely, which is, you know, without prompting, which is essentially what proactive honesty is, and then not being filtered. And, and you don’t want to be hurtful. And you want to be kind and you want to be but yeah, so this is really hard stuff. Trace like,

Tracy Bannon 11:47
tech is easy. I keep saying that. The tech is easy, though. It is hard because it forces us to look inside. It forces us to be more authentic. The term used to be self-actualizing. I don’t know if that term is as trendy anymore. Right? Looking at your being introspective and understanding what are my own motivations, and then being able to understand how I viewed the people around me. And working to make that, you know, a healthy exchange between me and the people around me. That’s not easy. And it’s as it isn’t as though we all have that as a skill. It isn’t as though we don’t all suffer every day. Right? How many times have you thought to yourself, should I say now I think I’m going to keep myself on mute right now. And sometimes you’re glad you did. And sometimes you’re upset that you kept yourself on mute. But it’s not. There’s no exact recipe. But you can ask why specifically, am I choosing to be honest right now? What could the outcomes be? Right? Someone told me years ago about this concept called advanced prioritization. And I said, Look, dude, name was David is the leader of me said you need to learn how to advance prioritization. So I’ve been prioritizing for a long time, my friend, he said that advanced prioritization is where you look at all of the things that you have to make decisions on, and you choose to Deprioritize things while understanding what the ramifications are. So not just trying to get everything done, like force ranking everything, but actually making an active decision, those three things, I’m not going to do them. And I realized that this is the backlash or what’s going to happen. So same thing with proactive honesty and reactive honesty, you have to make a decision, right? It’s all comes down to choice and purpose, right? If you think about it in software terms. Everything in software is about context and asking why, what are we trying to do? Apply that to humans? Why? What are we trying to do? There? There you go. We just need to treat each other like it’s a computer problem. We’ll be done.

Jason Baum 14:02
Yeah, and then it’s easy. So so all this sounds great. But you have to do this sometimes in a matter of seconds. You’re going through all these analytical Decisions, decisions, like why am I being honest? Is this a good time? To be honest? Do you like I feel like, by the time I figured it all out, I’ve missed my opportunity? And now I’m going to be reactive? How do I mean, I guess, is it practice? Is it how do we get to the point where we can feel comfortable being proactively honest, and then also knowing that we’re not just like, hey, letting the filter you know, go and we’re just saying whatever comes to our mind, we’re actually, you know, there we’re putting some thought to it. How do we get to that?

Tracy Bannon 14:46
Wouldn’t you agree that rarely Isn’t that our conversation is so intense, and we only have that split second to say something rarely is that true? Right when normally there’s not a finger on the red button that’s gonna send up the weapon. Normally, we have a little bit more time around it. So I do things like have a post-it note that’s on the edge of my monitor that says why question mark. So I have my own little thing that just causes me to pause for a moment just for a split second. Now, it also means that, hey, practice your own. Talk to my daughter about this Sunday, I said, I’ve decided that I’m going to live by the laugh framework. It’s the life agile framework, and I made it up. And I’m sure that somebody out there may have written it down. But the idea is that every so often, I look at my own life, I look at my own list, and I do my own little baby retrospective. Maybe it’s while I’m taking a walk. And I think about the things that have happened during the day or I think about the things that have happened in the course of a project or product. And I reprioritize, for myself, well, I would say that everybody should be doing that. So if you are actively giving yourself a little bit of time to be human, if you’re practicing well-being not talking about days and hours of meditations and big lameness, just be honest with yourself. Sometimes I go into a meeting Jason, and when I’m talking to someone, I actually saving them. Just tell me the one thing that’s keeping you up at night. And a lot of times by asking them that question, what comes to the surface is the thing that they need to have practice honesty about? So ask yourself, What’s the one thing keeping you up at night, on all the other things that are just minutes and irritants doesn’t matter? So you have to there’s no fast, easy way to do this. This is about being humans, and gosh, we’re really terrible at being humans. We all are.

Jason Baum 16:44
It’s hard being human.

Jason Baum 17:26
So, who, you know, we’re getting back to DevOps and, you know, in tech, who should embrace and practice proactive honesty,

Tracy Bannon 17:36
there’s nobody that shouldn’t, it is for all of us. from a leadership perspective, what does proactive honesty look like? It means stepping up to say, somebody, I don’t necessarily understand this technology that the team is talking about, I don’t necessarily understand this acquisition pattern that’s being talked about, I don’t necessarily have the additional funds to do XYZ. So corrective honesty at a senior level means allowing yourself to be vulnerable to your peers. But it also means being more open with the people who work with you and beneath you, so that they have a better understanding of where things are. So it has be leaders have to be proactively honest. Folks in the middle, me too. They’re in an interesting pinch position, right? There. They’re trying to buffer leadership from all the noise, but they’re also trying to buffer all the folks who are practical tactical, from the heavy stuff that stuff above. Well, they have to make some snap decisions, but they need to be proactive about honesty, Here’s what’s coming from leadership, here’s what they’re thinking. Don’t just let the leadership push it down onto the lower levels. Allow yourself to be that middleman, that middle woman that can be a better ambassador to your troops. What about the practical tactics? What about the hands-on what about boots on the ground? Well, of all the people who need to be honest with each other, those are the folks and they need to be able to be honest, upwards so I don’t think there’s anybody do you think there’s anybody who shouldn’t be practically honest?

Jason Baum 19:11
No, I think we all it’s, it’s something that we all need to learn it’s advanced communication, but advanced communication, anything as advanced, like it’s hard. So I keep saying hard because, uh, you know, when you think about it, these are skills that we have to learn and practice. So, you know, as you said with the advanced part, it is advanced prioritization. And I have no idea how to do basic prioritization and planning. So yeah, you said like, being honest up, what does that mean?

Tracy Bannon 19:44
Um, if you are fearful, being honest, that means when someone comes in and that’s the end, they might be exceptionally senior to you and there might be a little bit of intimidation around it or a little bit of power dimension that’s there. Being assertive if somebody asks you how things are going to say, Well, in general pretty good. You know, I was thinking about this one thing you may want to be aware of. So that’s being honest up, it doesn’t mean that you suddenly spill everything. You know, “Jason stinks and Jaida I can’t stand her. She’s in late every day, she takes a break, goes to Starbucks for an hour“, like it that isn’t what that’s about. But taking an opportunity when the door is open, to be able to speak and be free about it. Now, in all this talk about honesty, there’s another piece to this, you know, you can make a mistake in being honest. Right? Your intention was to help in way x didn’t work that way. There are times where you also need to learn to say you’re sorry. And there are apologies, and there are I’m sorry. And there’s a difference between those two words, right. An apology is more of an acknowledgment that this situation happened, I’m sorry, is when you are taking personal accountability for being a part of either at the catalyst for that event or in moving it forward. So you can be honest. And sometimes it works. Oftentimes it works. But when it doesn’t also be get your gumption up and figure out if you need to either say I apologize, or I’m sorry.

Jason Baum 21:27
Yeah, that’s, that’s interesting. I mean, in as you’re talking, I’m thinking about, why is it that when we say honest, I feel like what we think sometimes and like you were talking about the filter, or having to say, sorry, why is there negative connotation with honesty sometimes? Or that it could be perceived as negative? And is it because your honest opinion is going to clash with someone else’s honest opinion? Because we all have different opinions? And so you’re bound to maybe make someone feel? I don’t know if uncomfortable is the right word, but perhaps your differing from their opinion, but you’re getting it out there? I don’t know. I’m wondering this as you’re talking.

Tracy Bannon 22:15
Oh, have you? How many times have you used the phrase? Quite frankly, right, we use the term quite frankly, or in all honesty, and there are times where we feel the need to preface our statement with meaning we’re burying ourselves open even more. Right? I think it’s because we, as a people group, have spent a lot of time with social, right. It used to be that we weren’t to be as honest with one another, you were to toe the line, you were to make sure that you knew what your motto was, what your brand was, what your speaking points were, and you’re not to step outside that. But that’s also how we got to where we are. So part of what we’re doing is we’re tearing down a little bit of a societal structure that’s been around for 1000s of years. And we’re allowing people to have more freedom. But with that freedom comes additional responsibility. So,

Jason Baum 23:15
yeah, yeah. One of my favorites is that being said, which is a great phrase because that basically says, Forget everything I just said, is what it should be. And then you say what you really mean.

Tracy Bannon 23:29
Right? Oh, I totally agree. I could not agree with you more on that when there are lots of little ones, right? Yeah. Yeah. People started to say, Oh, you shouldn’t use the term but instead, you should use however no, however, is just a glorified, glorified by

Jason Baum 23:47
the glorified. But there you go there. Gina. There’s your there’s the title for the season. No, I’m just Just kidding. So okay, so what are some additional examples, maybe from your experience of proactive honesty.

Tracy Bannon 24:07
Sometimes it’s executive presence. So I’ve got specific examples where I am working with a client, and I am looking at what is what I believe is truly the right decision for them. Here are the trade-offs for it, here’s why I believe in they are starting to go down the wrong path. And it can be that even some of my own leadership disagree with them. It’s very, very difficult to pull them together. I call it executive courage and to be able to figure out, do I talk to my exec leaders first or do I talk to my sponsors my clients first, but getting together and saying, We’re going down the wrong path. Now I could get in line and I could make it work and I could work really hard at it or I could early or say, this is the wrong tool for this or this is the wrong pattern or we are going down something that is not going to be sustainable. It’s really, really hard, especially for folks mid-career to be able to say that because they have enough experience. They got enough inkling, but they don’t necessarily want to say anything. The I’ve been the person who’s been the developer just pulling more and more off the backlog and not allowing myself to say, Uncle, can we still say that? And can you still cry uncle and the I’ve been that person? And I needed what I needed to do was turn around and say, I took too much off here. My quality is not here. I didn’t do this. Right. Those are some pretty standard examples that I think that we often run into, I think a harder part of honesty, especially productive honesty is when it comes to talking to people about things that are more about the human side. Like, so what if you have a team member who’s fantastic. They’re amazing skills, they know everything. But their soft skills are a little edgy. And they can change the dynamic in a room with a single sentence. So maybe my proactive honesty is saying, Hey, Jason, you know, I think before we go into this meeting today, there are a lot of folks here who are not as deep in the subject this year. Let’s see if we can give them a little bit more room to bring them along on the journey, right? And somehow figure out how to talk with you. So that and that’s a touch that’s hard That’s a harder conversation to say, then, Jason, you took too much off the backlog. Or, Jason, this is the wrong tool, the wrong decision, the wrong, you know, here’s the wrong matrix of why we’re doing what we’re doing. When you have to be proactively honest about the human side of things, man, that’s like, that’s like a force multiplier for stress.

Jason Baum 26:55
Well, yeah, I mean, then what you’re just doing, is that proactively honest?

Tracy Bannon 27:01
If I’m doing it, before we get into that meeting, if I’m doing it in a way, I’m gonna have to seek Why am I seeking to do that? Am I jealous that you’re so damn good? If I’m jealous that you’re so damn good, and I want to be in the spotlight? Well, then I need to not say anything. But if I’m truly thinking about how we can make it the most effective meeting, you and I’ll talk ahead of time before the meeting ever even starts, before we ever get in there. We’ll talk about what we what do we want the culture of that meeting to be like, what do we want the mood in the room to be? How are the different people going to receive that information, we figure out how to make it a little smoother, and I shoot straight with you. And I’ve had to do that I had someone this last year, who’s a fantastic technology just off the chain. Amazing with OpenShift. And I had another group of contractors come to me and say, we actually don’t want to work with him anymore. Because he’s just so caustic. So I, but this guy’s great. He’s amazing. And they were like, yeah, it doesn’t matter how great his skills are. Nobody likes even being in a meeting with them, because it’s just an arm crunchy. So I had to go and have that conversation, the things that already happened. But before it got worse, I had to be honest. And so that was a kind of a different kind of crack of honesty. Yeah, maybe it was reactive. Honestly, I actually didn’t see it until somebody said something to me. But I was just oblivious to it. Because

Jason Baum 28:25
you’re not going to them and being like, look, you’re a little rough around the edges, you know, people are talking about you. And you’re not saying that you’re a baby you can. So you can be honest and still be kind, I guess is like what I’m trying to get at, you know?

Tracy Bannon 28:39
Yeah. Well, that’s, that’s back to honestly, why you’re being honest. If you’re doing if you’re supporting purpose, is to make the meeting better, is to help that person amplify their impacts by upping their communication in that meeting. Yeah. Comes back to intent, context and intent, right?

Jason Baum 29:00
We talked about feeling safe. When being proactively honest, creating an environment where we’re open to hearing it too, right? Gotta have that the ability to take it, you know? And so how, what role does this play in psychological safety?

Tracy Bannon 29:19
Isn’t it part of the cornerstone as a leader creating an environment of psychological safety, I want to emphasize it, I want to put myself out there as a role model and be vulnerable, as a member of a team, a member of an organization that wants to have psychological safety. I’m going to seek out those things as well. I am going to figure out where my voices and who are my allies can help me with a situation if I don’t feel comfortable enough on my own. Because sometimes there are lots of folks who are a little bit more shy about expressing themselves so they’re more introverted about expressing themselves and they may need to have an ally that they can talk to I don’t mean ganging up on one another but being able to go to Jason, etc. Now, as I was thinking about this, I’m not quite sure how to how to move forward with this. If you’re helping us to have an environment, a psychological safety, you’re going to sit down and you’re going to give a hoot. And you’re going to have a conversation with me. So I can figure out what to do about this situation where I want to be proactive.

Jason Baum 30:23
So I mean, we just we just spent our podcast talking about proactive honesty.

Jason Baum 30:30
And now and now I’m, I’m wondering, okay, great. So I’m listening to this, how do I implement this? How do I create a culture? That proactive honesty is, is encouraged and, and implemented?

Tracy Bannon 30:48
Transparency is the first part of them, celebrating failures openly, because and I don’t like even use the term failures anymore. Let’s celebrate our experiences. Because our experiences are like experiments. And what’s the outcome of an experiment as learning experiments don’t fail or succeed, experiments are experiments, and they have outcomes. So provide that opportunity for folks treat everyone with that kind of an attitude. Be transparent about things. And also guard yourself when it comes to reacting to the honesty of others. That’s a big part of it. You You said this earlier, somebody may be straight talking with you need to, if you feel defensive, it’s okay to say I’m feeling a little bit defensive about this. Let’s disengage for a little while. And let’s come back out this. And those simple steps are the beginning. I’m looking at as we’re talking about technology, as we’re talking about software delivery, and in particular, understanding things like dashboards and metrics and messaging, all of those things can be proactive in their honesty, as long as you’re sharing them openly and allowing there to be again, celebrations of whatever is going on. Hey, you guys only have 10% code coverage. Yeah, that’s better than zero. Look at that. Honest, let’s get up to 15%. Whoo. Right, celebrating with one another, that we’re making progress, period. I think all of those things play a part. I don’t, I think it’s difficult to say, Well, today, I’ve got a recipe I’ve got a framework for how we’re going to adopt proactive honesty, really, yet another framework? Oh contraire, mon fair. Every group of people, every friend, every set of friends kind of Jason you and I’ve been hanging out and talking other times. As we get to know each other, we can know where we can push and pull and what we can be honest about, like teams, organizations, they’re more than simple transactions, their relationships with other people. So you know, don’t treat your work family as though they are just work associates. Think of them as your work family, spend as much time with them often as you do with the people who are in your households outside of work. Yeah, I

Jason Baum 33:19
love that. I love what you just said. Because I think it just, it comes down to creating an environment where you feel comfortable, right? First and foremost. Because when you think of work-family, you get to that point, not just because you’re around someone for a long time, because I think you still have you could be around someone and still be uncomfortable. I think it’s it’s steps that you have to take as an organization from a cultural perspective to encourage that feeling of being able to be open.

Tracy Bannon 33:52
You know, if we’re going, to be honest, but um you’re never going to always feel comfortable around everybody. Heck, I’ve got people in my immediate family, I could talk to you about my baby sister, and we don’t feel immediately comfortable with each other. We are just so different. Oh my goodness gracious. It’s amazing. So I feel more comfortable with my bestie then and it’s not because she’s a bad person. There’s nothing. It’s just that that is our personalities is a diversity that’s there. There’s a difference of opinion. There’s a difference of just lifestyles. Sometimes you’re not going to be the best of friends but I can respect in this I understand her parameters. I know what makes her tick. I know what she’s the things that she likes to do and things she doesn’t like to do. If you treat your work family that same way. You get to start to understand where the extends for each person. What are the boundaries for those individuals, what are they comfortable with or not comfortable with? I’ve got a woman on one of my teams right now. Who I would love to just send her in charging in and have her presenting it folks and she came to me A corrective honest and said, I want to do the work. But I don’t want to be the frontline. I’m not come that’s not nice bang. And I would have never thought that because she’s just so comfortable and confident when she talks. It’s it. But I learned that and she had that, that practice of honesty to say, I don’t want to do that part. Let me be the brains back here but have somebody else cultivating that relationship, have somebody else do the presentation on this,

Jason Baum 35:28
I’m assuming when your work associate family member, your work family member came to you and said what she said, put herself out there because quite frankly, that could go horribly wrong for her. I’m assuming you validated that concern, right. But that’s because you created you already created an environment where she felt comfortable saying that I’m assuming, because that’s hard to put yourself out there, especially when you’re tagged to do something that could be seen as you know, you know, good for your career, and someone your boss is taking notice of you. And you’re like, Yeah, but I’m not really comfortable with that. That’s huge. That’s a big deal.

Tracy Bannon 36:14
It was it was massive. And it was humbling. Because first of all, that I realized that maybe I had contributed to having an environment where somebody could feel open enough. So it’s very humbling from that perspective, that she was self-actualizing enough to know what she was comfortable with and not comfortable with, and wanted to do the body of the work, but didn’t want to be the voice. That’s okay. Not everybody’s meant to be that voice. Well, that’s, that’s a good thing, too. Because otherwise, she would have gotten into a situation where she wasn’t happy with the work that she was doing. And so I would rather have somebody say, to me, this is the trade that I’d like to make. What do you think of that and work together with them. And, of course, validate that, it’s hard, I said, humans are the hard part. That’s why you have this podcast, the humans are the hard part.

Jason Baum 37:04
That’s why we talk through it. This is our therapy session, you know, this is where we get to the, to the, to the heart of what, what everybody’s thinking, but no one talks about and, you know, bring it to light and put the spotlight on some of these human skills that are difficult, that aren’t easy, but are necessary to keep us going. You know, progress, progress is hard. But I think we, we are all making a conscious effort, especially I feel like DevOps with the principles of DevOps is actually kind of like, I feel like very focused on that, right, pushing things forward. And then you can apply that to human skills to that’s what’s fun about this podcast. To me.

Tracy Bannon 37:48
I totally agree, we are creating an environment where change can happen where change is frequent, where there’s constantly innovation and reinvention of both the human spirits as well as the technical parts of it. So prep yourself for change, get a little bit comfortable with being a little bit uncomfortable, and it’s surprising how fun it can be.

Jason Baum 38:14
Yeah, get yourself comfortable with being uncomfortable. I love that. That’s I mean, if you could put it put what being honest, is like right out there, you know, the tagline for honesty, I think is like is that and being the one who’s receiving the honesty and having to validate maybe something you don’t believe in, but you know, hey, look, this person does. That’s a big deal. Learning how to say you’re sorry, verse apologize. You know, I think that’s, these are all great takeaways. And I really appreciate Tracy for coming on and, and sharing with us about proactive honesty, teaching, teaching us a bit about it. And you know, it is my honest opinion that you have been a wonderful guest. And, you know, we’d love to always have you back. You’re, you’re a family member of this podcast, for sure.

Tracy Bannon 39:08
Thank you, Jason, I really do have fun chatting with you about this stuff. So thank you for being by.

Jason Baum 39:13
And thanks for listening to this episode of the humans of DevOps podcast. Happy Thanksgiving to our listeners in the United States. We’re going to take a break for the holidays. So we’ll see you in two weeks. And I’m going to end this episode the same as I always do, encouraging you to become a premium member of DevOps Institute to get access to even more great resources just like this one. And until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and most of all, stay human, live long and prosper.

Narrator 39:44
Thanks for listening to this episode of the humans of DevOps podcast. Don’t forget to join our global community to get access to even more great resources like this. Until next time, remember, you are part of something bigger than yourself. You belong

Upskilling IT 2023 Report

Community at DevOps Institute

related posts

[EP109] From a DBA Jerk to a Collaborator!

[EP109] From a DBA Jerk to a Collaborator!

Join Eveline Oehrlich and Grant Fritchey, Product Advocate at Redgate Software, to discuss product advocacy, collaboration, and leadership. Grant has worked for more than 30 years in IT as a developer and a DBA. He has built systems from major enterprises to...

[EP108] Leading an Engineering Team Today

[EP108] Leading an Engineering Team Today

Join Eveline Oehrlich and Nickolas Means, VP of Engineering at Sym, to discuss the best practices and challenges of leading an engineering team, collaboration, and more. Nick is the VP of Engineering at Sym, the adaptive access tool built for developers. He’s been an...

[EP106] Identity Orchestration Tidbits

[EP106] Identity Orchestration Tidbits

Join Eveline Oehrlich and Topher Marie, CTO and Co-founder of Strata, to discuss Container Orchestration. Before Strata, Topher was the CTO and a co-founder of JumpCloud. In the past, he has also been an Architect for Oracle’s global cloud identity and security...