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7 Questions on Leadership with Gilbert Traverse

Name: Gilbert Traverse

Title: Solution Engineering Manager - Technical Archtects

Organisation: Oracle

Hi I’m Gil Traverse, I manage Oracle's Technical Architecture team for Services Industries in North America. I'm based in Austin, TX. I'm an avid outdoorsman; enjoying hunting, shooting, archery, hiking, kayaking and horseback riding. I'm also in the top 10% of axe throwers in International Axe Throwing Federation (IATF). I'm a foodie, I love to cook and compete in BBQ competitions. I love all things tech and focus in Cyber Security and Emerging technologies, and I'm currently in a Masters program studying Cyber and Future Warfare.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Gilbert's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Saying no. I am a helper by nature and I always want to do what I can to help but sometimes saying no and pushing back is the best thing to do for everyone. It's taken me a while to get used to it but I am getting much better at it.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My leadership journey started in Boy Scouts and continued on through various clubs and organizations throughout high school and college. I always gravitated towards leadership out of a desire to help. I love helping people and I was always coming up with ideas to make things better or more efficient and that led to leadership. In career terms, I've held leadership positions on various SWAT teams and projects, and moved into a full-time people management role at the end of 2019. My first full year as a manager was during the height of the COVID pandemic and it was a trial by fire, but looking back on it, the adversity has definitely made me a better leader.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I always start my day with a prayer and a Bible verse and then I typically spend 30 mins or so reading industry and general news, and then jumping into email and admin work. My favorite parts of the day are talking with my team, taking care of my guys is the best part of my job by far. Various meetings throughout the day, then after work, I start school which is usually a few hours of reading a night plus writing assignments. Then it's a late dinner and some TV or more reading then off to bed.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Embrace the suck. Sometimes situations will come up that you can't control and just plain suck. If you spend all your energy being angry and pushing back against things you can't control, you won't have the energy to be there for your people when they need you. Everything is temporary, eventually, you'll get through the situation but the only through it, is to go through it. So embrace the suck, walk through it confidently, and sooner or later you'll make it to the other side.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Mastery by Robert Greene, bar none the best career book I've ever read. There are a lot of great lessons, but I think the biggest takeaway is TAKE YOUR TIME. Observe, learn, ideate, and you will get where you want to be. But if you try to climb too far, too fast, you'll never have the experience necessary to weather the inevitable storms. If you take your time, you'll get where you need to be and you'll be able to take on any challenge that comes your way.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Listen more than you talk and be humble. Being a leader isn't about you and your ideas, it's about your team and helping them become the best possible versions of themselves and clearing away the obstacles to their success.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

One of my biggest success stories as a leader, was when I first took over my team. I assigned someone to a project and immediately got a call from the project leader and asked for literally anyone else. I said no, but I would personally work with them on the project. I spoke with my team member and we put together a plan to rebuild his reputation. After a couple of years of hard work and coaching, that project leader who wanted anyone else now specifically asks for him to be assigned to every one of her projects. Having the tough conversations, but sticking with my guy and coaching him along the way and now seeing him as a nationally recognized expert has been incredibly rewarding.

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