The Five Types of Engineering Managers You’ll Meet in Your Career | by Isabel Nyo | May, 2022

And how one can assist them as their supervisor

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Being an engineering supervisor is a very completely different profession expertise for software program engineers and being a supervisor of engineering managers is as soon as once more a model new recreation.

After virtually 20 years in my profession, the place I spent the final decade as an engineering supervisor, I’ve met, coached, and mentored many engineering managers, and I can group them into 5 completely different classes.

Whereas each engineering supervisor is exclusive, it’s helpful to know what sort of attributes and behaviours they have an inclination to show probably the most with the intention to assist them successfully as their supervisor. And should you’re an engineering supervisor, realizing which class you’re in permits you to perceive your strengths and blindspots higher.

The 5 kinds of engineering managers that you’ll meet in your profession are:

  1. The Clever Challenger
  2. The Quiet Coach
  3. The Loud and Free Chief
  4. The Ladder Climber
  5. The Over-Protecting Carer

1. The Clever Challenger

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“Why was this determination made?”

“Shouldn’t the brand new strategy be a lot less complicated?”

“How are we going to know once we get there?”

These are the questions you’ll get from engineering managers that belong to this group. They’re little doubt clever, however generally they are often an excessive amount of to deal with and rub individuals the fallacious means, together with their very own direct stories.

With these sorts of individuals, their supervisor ought to goal to educate them to be extra considerate and tactful whereas recognizing their inquisitive nature is what retains them engaged of their work.

2. The Quiet, Supportive Coach

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The quiet, supportive coaches are expensive to my coronary heart as a result of I used to be typically labelled as one in my administration profession.

As an introverted one who believes in servant management, I can completely relate to them as a result of I can simply put myself of their sneakers. They’re quiet, observant, nice listeners, and eager to raise their staff’s success whereas supporting them behind the scene.

However the draw back of getting one of these supervisor is that they’re not the primary to talk up — even after they discover one thing isn’t working nicely instantly. They observe, pay attention, and perceive first. Whereas they’re completely able to being change-makers, they don’t seem to be ones to make noise. Because of this, their supervisor may not all the time discover the great work that they and their staff are doing.

If they’ve a supervisor who isn’t in a position to take time to watch and pay attention in addition to themselves and fails to provide recognition or alternatives for profession development — then they’ll stroll out the door once you least count on them to. And the organisation will really feel the affect in consequence as a result of they’d been such a fantastic help to their staff and colleagues.

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The Loud and Free chief may simply be mistaken as an Clever Challenger on the floor degree.

I nonetheless bear in mind making that mistake after I joined a brand new organisation as their senior supervisor early on in my administration profession the place I used to be managing first-line managers. This supervisor was all the time seen all over the place and making their opinions recognized: on Slack, in Zoom conferences, on tickets, on Intranet pages, and so forth. However when it was time to get heads down and ship (and sure, managers additionally have to do work, not simply discuss), they have been nowhere to be discovered. I considered them as all discuss however no motion.

However as I’ve grown to grasp increasingly more about individuals, I see they’re not all that unhealthy. It’s simply their power could also be misplaced, they usually require particular steerage and persistence to deliver them on a journey of self-awareness. As soon as they’ve gained self-awareness, they’re like a brand-new one who’s desirous to contribute positively and go the additional mile for his or her groups.

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Because the title implies, the ladder climber climbs the profession ladder proactively and persistently. Give them a difficult challenge that most individuals shrink back from, they usually’ll take it with a smile on their face. Get them to guide probably the most complicated, cross-organisation, multi-year challenge with plenty of visibility they usually would be the happiest. However it’s a must to dangle the carrot in entrance — a promotion, so to talk.

Whereas having the need to do nicely in a single’s profession can’t be faulted, as their supervisor, it’s your duty to offer a distinct perspective to them in an effort to assist them keep away from disappointment. It’s additionally essential for them to bear in mind that not everybody has the identical degree of ambition and stamina as they do, and they should be careful for feeling burn out not simply from themselves but in addition from their staff.

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The tell-tale signal of an Over-Protecting Carer is that they shield their staff from difficulties, and they’re unable to just accept any adverse, even constructive, feedback from anybody about their staff members.

They’re extra widespread than you may suppose. Some managers fall into this class as a result of they suppose that is what it means to be a caring supervisor. A number of managers fall into this class as a result of they don’t seem to be assured with their very own administration skills and are afraid to look incompetent if their staff members make any mistake. Some fall into this class as a result of there’s a lack of expertise about their function and duties.

No matter why they’re an Over-Protecting Carer, they have an inclination to micromanage and turn into stressed when they’re accountable for massive targets.

In consequence, they work lengthy hours, choose up everybody’s slack, and put work above all the pieces else of their lives — all in an effort to be thought of supervisor.

Relatively than giving them easy and straightforward targets for this sort of supervisor, their supervisor ought to problem them and permit them to develop. Train them that there’s worth in making errors and taking dangers. Coach them via failure, and problem them past their consolation zones. Assist them perceive how they could be a nice supervisor while not having to defend their staff from errors.

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Whereas the descriptions above could seem a bit harsh, these kind of managers usually are not all unhealthy, they usually contribute to the success of the staff in by hook or by crook so long as they’re given the proper help. Furthermore, simply because somebody was a loud and free chief or a ladder climber doesn’t imply they’ll all the time keep as one all through their administration profession.

It’s extra about their pure tendencies, and as they get extra mature and skilled as managers, they can recognise when they might be leaning in the direction of unproductive types.

I’ve personally worn the hat of the Quiet, Supportive Coach, the Ladder Climber, and even the Over-Protecting Carer after I was new to administration. Nevertheless, with the proper help and alternatives, I used to be in a position to develop as a supervisor.

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