Management

3 Wrong Reasons For Moving Into Management

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Following my post about reasons to become a technical leader, let’s now examine the most commonly wrong reasons that make some software developers chase the management path and inevitably fail not long thereafter.

Money

You expected this, didn’t you? There’s nothing wrong with an urge to earn more money, but if it’s your main goal then you will most probably fail. Managers can typically have a much higher salary than developers, but not all of them do! Poor leaders can lose their job or get stuck at the basic management level, while good developers gain more technical skills and experience, eventually landing more profitable projects or jobs.

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If you have a true passion for programming and you dream of a long technical career, you should look for other ways to make more money as a developer. It may not be easy, but trust me – being a manager is even harder when it’s not really your calling.

Power

Having the authority to make decisions for your team can seem tempting to some people. However, by now you should have realized that in a market economy, especially in industries such as IT, this type of power is an illusion. Good developers – and that’s the only kind you want on your team – will not hesitate much before leaving their bosses when they don’t feel respected. You can be sure they will have plenty of offers, and you won’t compensate for a bad job with higher salary or other benefits in the long-term. Also, what is the meaning of such power if you don’t have any followers?

Respect

Are you kidding me? Nobody respects their boss just because of their position, it always trails their actions. Your employees may fake it for some time to avoid trouble, but if you’re not good at this job they will consider you as an obstacle on their projects. You won’t be respected until you change your attitude, and adding ‘Team Leader’ on your business card certainly won’t make that happen.

Summary

The reality is that many of us care about the above aspects – we want to earn more money, be respected, and so on. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, these should not be the main forces steering your career, otherwise you may wake up one day feeling that you wasted a few years of your life doing something that you hated, and were not even good at. As a result you could be hurting yourself and your co-workers. Think these through, no matter what decision you make, or path you follow.

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One thought on “3 Wrong Reasons For Moving Into Management

  1. Osiris Martinez says:

    This is a great write-up Rafal, and on an important topic to many. I can now count six individuals that I personally know/knew of that had an opportunity to transition into management, to then discover it wasn’t to their liking. That is a real shame, and the number is way too high IMHO.

    There are five types of leadership power: Coercive, Reward, Legitimate, Expert, and Referent. The least desired is Coercive (forcing others to follow one for fear of repercussions if they do not). The most desired is Reference (being followed because others recognize and appreciate one as a leader). Always seek to be the leader who wields Reference power. It isn’t simple, it isn’t easy, and if you attempt to fake it, others will know. Be real, and keep it real.

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