3 Things People Assume About Tech Leaders

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Sometimes tech people get a bad rap. We are behind the scenes, stealth-like servants who really just want to do the best job we can with what has been given to us. But we are also usually introverted and don’t like conflict, so we avoid it until our backs are against the wall or incredibly stressed out. With that come a few stereotypes that I wanted to try and dispel.

  1. We like saying no.

So you’re in a brainstorm meeting and ideas are flying around from the creative team, senior pastor, and worship department. Crazy ideas like “we should hang a car upside down over our stage and have someone come out of it!” Then it comes from the corner of the room—a quiet but firm voice says, “Are you guys crazy? We can’t do that! Do you know what it would take to pull that off?!” And the room goes silent…

Your senior pastor says, “Okay, but what if it’s a really small car?”

The room laughs but your tech guy immediately responds with, “Pastor, even a small car. We would have to think about rigging, safety, a crane to even get it up in the air, if our ceiling can even support the weight, etc., etc., etc.”

After a few minutes of all the things to think about, techie says, “Well if we really want to do it I can call a stage and rigging company and a structural engineer…”

So often with tech personalities, we need to go through all the what-if’s before we can get on board with an idea. We need time to process the cons before we get to the pros. I’ve often suggested to church tech leaders to not go to brainstorm meetings and wait for the ideas to be whittled down to just a few. Then have a logistics meeting of seeing if it can actually be done. It saves a lot of premature no-responses before an actual direction or decision is made, and it takes away the perception of tech people liking to say no.

You need techie on your team to execute the ideas and also think through the good and the bad before making it happen. It’s an essential piece of the team. But if techie is overwhelmed with too many great ideas, he or she can tend to push back harder and be frustrated because they can’t process everything fast enough to give an answer.

2. We don’t like people.

This idea can come from our introverted personality. Often we would rather be left alone with our equipment and will work ‘til we can’t see straight rather than hang out and talk about our feels or hard issues. We can appear socially awkward because we choose to work alone as opposed to working with others.

We also like to be alone because being with people drains us of energy and we need to go recharge by ourselves. So it can appear that we don’t enjoy being with people and reality is that we will choose to work along if asked. It doesn’t mean we don’t like people; you just drain us and we need to recharge alone.

It doesn’t mean we don’t like people; you just drain us and we need to recharge alone.

If you find yourself, techie, coming across like this, just let people know. Communication fills in the gaps where it’s easy to assume the worst.

3. We know everything about technology.

You’ve probably been in this situation: You’re at church, running through the set for the weekend with the band trying to dial it in and someone from the children’s ministry walks in and says this. “Hey, since your the tech person can you look at computer check in station? It’s not working right.”

Not trying to appear rude, you say something like, “Um it’s not really my area but I’ll try and come over after I finish up.”

Needless to say you are pretty good at troubleshooting and can walk through the basics to find that the mouse isn’t plugged in on the computer. The children’s workers thank you endlessly and praise your amazing tech knowledge.

The problem is, the church thinks every piece of equipment that plugs in is technology and you are an expert with it. “What kind of TV should I get?” or “What’s the best computer on the market?” And as nice as you are, it can wear on you. Especially since the questions or need for help with something seems to always come at the moment you’re in the middle of something important.

It’s nice to be needed, but sometimes we wish people understood that—just like a math teacher in school might not be experts in History and English also—we may not be gifted in every technical realm.

I get it. It’s tough. And I’m not sure I have all the answers for these things. But just know you are not alone. And more than that, you must remember that it isn’t about the technology, your knowledge, or the people who occasionally annoy you. You get to do this, and you’re part of something so much bigger than all of this.