Staying Sane as a Technical Manager
A while ago I wrote about some characteristics of a good Technical Manager. After having some time to reflect on the transition from Developer to Technical Manager, there are three little words that I think every Technical Manager needs to take to heart.
I love you.
Oh wait, no, that was supposed to go in the email to my wife.
Know your limits.
Consider this phrase as just one aspect of the golden rule as it relates to leadership. For example, I am a person who loves to dig into details and who tends to struggle with intentionally staying at a high-level view of a project. As the team grew, we had 8 people each working on a different project. With my natural hands-on style, I found myself inadvertently ignoring half of the team, barely keeping up with the current state of their projects, while digging into the other half of the projects.
I realized that my current limitations were preventing me from giving attention to my co-workers and their projects that they needed, and at the same time I was growing increasingly stressed out and frustrated from trying to keep up with everybody. In the spirit of “doing to others what I would want done to me” I knew that my co-workers deserved proper attention and focus from their manager. I also knew that the more stressed I was, the less effective I was.
The solution in my situation? Find and/or develop another Technical Manager and split the team up, allowing each manager to provide an increased level of focus to their teams.
We split the teams about a month ago and the day the split went into effect I swear I felt a literal load taken off of my shoulders, and the result for both teams has been wonderful.
Team mitosis and optimal team size is an interesting topic that perhaps I’ll muse about more in-depth in a future post.