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What things should I consider, when evaluating TL -> EM switch

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Anonymous User at Taro Community7 months ago

I am an L5 TL, of a team of less than 10 people. My manager very recently asked me whether I am interested in becoming an EM (managing most if not all of the people on my team).

I like coding and technical contributions, but I believe I like helping people succeed more, including having crucial conversations where things aren't going well. Those things don't come naturally to me, BUT I get great satisfaction out of those tricky situations. I would also like the opportunity to build a team of amazing individuals who come together around a central goal. Based on this I am leaning yes.

However, I know the EM path isn't all roses. What are the top 3 questions I ought to consider, before I decide whether I want to do this?

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(4 comments)
  • 3
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    7 months ago
    • What will success look like in 6 months? As a manager, you probably can't rely on things like code commits or features shipped to measure impact.
    • How will you allocate time between low, medium, and high performers? Are you comfortable committing to that?
    • What feedback do you expect you'll need? Do you have people, both from the team you're managing and your leadership team, who can deliver this feedback to you?
  • 0
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    Anonymous User [OP]
    Taro Community
    7 months ago

    What feedback do you expect you'll need? Do you have people, both from the team you're managing and your leadership team, who can deliver this feedback to you?

    Luckily, I think I have both (1) people on the team whom I have enough trust to tell me how I am doing (2) a supportive manager who has a lot of management experience and have already been helping me be an effective TL.

    I'll definitely be asking the other two questions in a followup meeting - thanks!

  • 3
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    Engineering Manager @ Blend
    7 months ago
    • Do you actually care about people's growth? - I think a lot of people think that they care about people but their actions speak differently. Impossible to be a great manager if you don't have a genuine care for other people.
    • Are you okay with spending 0-20% of your time in coding/development and 80-100% of your time in meetings / handling process / coordinating with folks? - sure, for different orgs its different but its common that managers go days/weeks without writing a single line of code and spend most of their time chatting with other people and coordinating efforts to enable other people to do work.
    • Are you bored? - sometimes I'm tempted to switch things up when I'm bored where I should actually just stick to the thing I'm already doing.

    hope that helps.

  • 1
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    Anonymous User [OP]
    Taro Community
    7 months ago

    Thanks Joshua! Appreciate the response.

    Do you actually care about people's growth?

    I think... I do. I've found it extremely rewarding to create environments that fosters trust. I think that goes a long way to helping people be the themselves.

    I... don't know if I know how to "grow" people, but I enjoy helping people succeed with their goals they already know of. I generally like to discuss how to think about problems with them and help them strategize for their own goals. I've gotten genuine appreciation out of helping underperformers get out of their rut and perform at meets expectation. The fact that they've regained a sense of confidence and self-belief is very rewarding to me.

    How do you know whether you actually care people's growth? I can maybe understand this for example in the context of caring for the growth of my spouse. Would love to understand how you think about this.

    Are you okay with spending 0-20% of your time in coding/development and 80-100% of your time in meetings / handling process / coordinating with folks?

    This I'm totally fine with. I am already coding 0-20% of time as TL of a big project requiring a lot of coordination. I like coding and I would like to keep my technical skills and judgement sharp for the long haul - I believe good EMs are technical and intellectually curious but not necessarily hands-on - but realize that might not occur on the job, and I'm ok with that. I am more interested in the dynamics of team and people fundamentally, I think.

    Are you bored?

    I'm not. Before this, I was very excited with the role I was playing. The TL role is already challenging and taking on people management amidst all of this seem daunting, at least. This is likely a question I would need to figure answers to in the coming weeks - how do I balance TL responsibilities with learning completely new role in EM. Having said that, I've always wanted to know whether I would like people management, and this seem like as good of an opportunity to do as I can think of.

    FYI I did say "yes, I would like to"!