What you should know before becoming an Engineering Leader
There are so many things I wish I had known before I became a Leader.
After being super technical and growing to a Solution Architect / Tech Lead, I went through many emotions that I wanted to be candid about with you.
Becoming an Engineering manager or even a Leader can be a challenging and rewarding experience at the same time. In today's newsletter, I wanted to share a few things I've experienced, and many leaders who I talked to agreed with me.
You might feel like an Outsider 💜
Here's why - you suddenly know so much about your team, and there is a power dynamic shift since you have more control over the team's decisions. But, unfortunately, I felt it as overnight, my team that were peers earlier became a bit distant, and I had to regain their trust again as a manager.
Leadership can be lonely 🥺💔
You might feel lonely as your peers are no longer your direct team but other managers on the same level as you. You won't be able to share everything with your team now. You need to be okay with it but try making new friends and building connections with other managers in your org.
You won't be able to code as much as you did 💻
While coding is an integral part of your job as a developer, you will only have 10-15% of your time to spend on it as an engineering manager. So even though this is harder, your focus should be on becoming a better leader and improving your skills in the new job.
Social exhaustion and lots of meetings 🗓️
You'll spend a lot of time in meetings, so setting up systems for productivity and relationship-building is important. On the other hand, you might feel socially exhausted, so try to book more focus time for yourself, so you are not always in meetings.
Have difficulty saying No 🙅♀
Saying no to team priorities or denying promotions can be challenging, but it's part of your job. You might also have difficulty communicating no to priorities, but if you say yes, you must think for your team and not just yourself. Learn to focus on the team's objectives while communicating priorities.
Why become an Engineering Manager? 💖
The joy of growing people, seeing happy outcomes, and controlling the roadmap is quite rewarding. However, although this role has challenges, it's important to focus on setting boundaries and building healthy systems to help scale your growth.
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What if you don't like being a manager?
It's possible to switch back to being a developer, and honestly, I would recommend it as you build empathy for both sides. If you don't like it, it's completely okay, but what if you do? If your team has an opportunity, you can go for it and try out the role before you decide.
I also have a Youtube video on the same topic. Highly recommend grabbing a cup of tea or coffee as you watch it! ☕️
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Talk next week!