Why Managers Are Like Clumsy Storm TroopersFiled Under Human Factors
Sharp developers are like Clone Troopers. They are quick, disciplined, and deadly in their specialty. The ability to instinctively react to pressure situations with high impact; all developers hope that they resemble this elite fighting force.
However, it’s inevitable.
Someday…somewhere…you will become a manager.
Managers are elite forces in their own galaxy (far, far away); however, when they attempt to reenter the development trenches they look like the clumsy 2nd generation Storm Troopers. There are two reasons why you will become a clumsy Storm Trooper when you become a manager:
1. You never were a Clone Trooper
Sorry, but you sucked as a developer and your company is too weak to fire you – so they promoted you. A lot of companies promote people to management to see if they have the soft skills to cover up for the lack of hard skills. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news…
2. Hard Skills: Don’t use ’em – you lose ’em
What I find humorous about this career “evolution” is that it is actually a devolution in your hard blue collar skills. Think about it, all of the skills that got you this current management promotion are now being put aside and a whole new skill set must be learned.
You will code less. You will sit in more meetings. You will stagnate.
When managers spend to much time in the meeting room (aptly named Death Star Room), developers turn into much weaker forms of their previous self. This common devolution can be handled in one of two ways: avoided or accepted.
Avoiding becoming that of which you hate is probably the most obvious. Keep coding. Work hard to relate to both sides of the business. Don’t let your skills slip. This sounds easier said than done, but it is necessary in being a great manager (as opposed to good).
Acceptance is a much harder thing to do. Most managers believe that they have been promoted because they are technologically superior! While this maybe true, this truth is only held for approximately 7 days max. Why 7 days? After 1 single iteration you no longer intimate with the code base and it’s not looking back…
Regardless if you choose to avoid or accept your change of skill set – be brutally honest with yourself! Always know your weaknesses and allow the stronger people on your team to fill in the gaps for you.
Great leaders are not great because of their single abilities, but because they have the ability to lead great people. Now go get ’em corporate TK-421!