2 min read (389 words)
Engineering manager is a difficult role to handle.
Depending on your personality, you can fall into several anti-patterns that will have a negative impact on the team.
👥 The Cloner
You try to turn everyone into yourself by advising each teammate to act like you or to do the exact same things that worked for you previously. There is no successful one-size-fits-all approach, each context is different, each teammate is hopefully unique, and he has his own way to learn, to act and react. Individual development means something different for everyone.
🎖 The Decider
You know the system, you know each portion of the code, how everything works, you see all the inefficiencies or whatever needs to be changed. You want to make the team save time by deciding everything for them.
This is the best way to disempower the team. You should see every single problem as a learning opportunity for the team. Some decisions will be yours, but try to involve the team to strengthen their decision making muscle, and to scale the organization.
🧸 The Buddy
You want to be liked and loved so badly that you will never give a single piece of negative feedback to a teammate, or share the hard things. Your behavior will not create any positive outcome for you or your teammates. You’re slowing down their learning, and you’re endangering their trust in you.
💩 ☔ The Shit-Umbrella
You hear a lot of noise around the team. There are some organization dramas, some customers are complaining, you had a system outage, etc. Your guts tell you to shield your teammates from all this agitation, you want to keep them safe from any distraction.
No-one can learn from problems without knowing about them. No-one can make a good decision without having access to the relevant information. The team is living in a bubble. You should balance it out, by sharing and explaining important problems to allow the team to learn and adapt.
Don’t worry too much about these anti-patterns, most of the EMs will fall in a few of these traps. I personally experimented most of them. Being aware they exist and knowing their impact will help to reassess your behavior.
📺 Discover more anti-patterns like the asshole, the joker, the wolf-cryer, etc by watching the talk of Rod Begbie, Engineering Manager at Box.