ICT team leader Karolina Michlová: Sometimes you have to be assertive and not be put off
"I don't have the school for it. I'm not the technical type. It's more of a man's field..." These are the most common myths among women about working in IT. However, we are happy to have several skilled women in our Lunde team who dispel these myths daily. Like our team leader Karolina Michlová, who currently leads an all-male ICT / DevOps team.
Karolina, what is your job as a team leader in the Prague branch of Lundegaard?
I work as the head of the ICT team, whose primary mission is to ensure the conditions for the continuous delivery of Lundegaard's customer solutions and services. My main task within the team is capacity planning to ensure the ideal project clearance process, both "outward" and "inward". I also create or modify internal processes to make the team's work more efficient, faster while maintaining as much simplicity and common sense as possible.
How big is the team you're leading?
I am currently working with a team of 6 people, 6 intelligent young guys who can do a lot. A person in ICTO has to be able to do a lot; they have a wide range of competencies and roles. That's why I automate the processes to make them work as simply and efficiently as possible.
What is it like to be the team leader in what is still an all-male field?
I've heard from friends that they come across as not being trusted much, and I can confirm :D It takes more work to gain trust in this industry. As for our team directly, there isn't a problem there. We had a transparent meeting right when I took the position where we openly discussed whether they had a problem with female leadership. The big challenge for me then is to show other people in the company that a woman can also achieve good results in this position. But sometimes, it is also necessary to be assertive and not be put off.
What can you offer as a woman in your position? (as opposed to a man - e.g. any particular approaches, strategies, style of behaviour different from your colleagues?)
I don't know if I use special procedures, but I emphasize individuality. I approach everyone differently. It's what's needed at the time. I don't measure with the same yardstick, even if it initially doesn't sound good. For me, each person is unique; therefore, I cannot treat everyone the same. I look for a different way to treat everyone. I also try to bring order and organization to the team with my meticulous tendency, which my colleagues appreciate. Still, I don't know if this is some typically feminine asset :) . On the other hand, I'm very impulsive and emotional, and I'm still learning to work with that.
What does that mean?
This means that I sometimes react very impulsively and emotionally to many situations, for example, when someone evaluates my output without facts about the situation. I am aware that more calm is needed in this position. That is why I am working on myself in this direction.
What has working at Lundegaard brought you?
Too much of everything. Lundegaard has been and is quite generous to me :D I have gone through considerable development and priceless experience here. I joined here from a company where basically no processes existed, and I knew very little about the IT industry. I tried to make up for everything by working hard. With the industry being more of a man's domain, I struggled to match my colleagues' performance for a few years. And in the end, unfortunately, it took a toll on my health. Today, I am aware of the limits of my body and have started to find a balance between work and personal life.
What motivates and pushes you the most in your work?
Every negative situation and experience. For example, when I learn that something is wrong and doesn't work. I immediately start working on improving it or looking for a way to set it up and do it differently next time. I'm often accused of seeing things and situations in black, but that's my nature, which helps me in this work because it makes me see opportunities for continuous improvement.