When it comes to the task of finding and nurturing great engineering managers, misunderstandings at startups are all too common. It seems that many people assume great engineers don’t want to “give up” coding to take on leadership roles.
But, you might argue, engineers are introverted, right? And they would rather ponder big problems than worry about resource allocation? And they aren’t really interested in business problems as much as tech problems, correct?
The answer to all of these suppositions is “Not really.” All of these are just biases, or preconceived notions of what an engineer is like. We have some fantastically chatty engineers, and we have some quiet ones. We have some developers who would kill me if I asked them to do performance reviews, and some who genuinely enjoy coaching and mentoring as part of their jobs. It just depends.
Engineers, like all other teammates within your organization, run the gamut in terms of interest and proclivity for management roles. Some, I’ve found, just need a nudge to get there. They need you to frame the challenge in the right way to make it accessible to them.