Chapter 78. Scaling Management by Giving Up Control

Ned Rockson

Every great engineer turned manager discovers they’ve donned a set of bulky but powerful gloves. These gloves allow them to move much bigger rocks than before but hinder their ability to tinker with the fine details. They will struggle wearing these new gloves because until now they enjoyed and excelled at dealing with fine details. To succeed, the great engineer turned manager must remove themselves from critical design and implementation paths. In this way they empower their team to succeed.

Often the first hurdle comes during the software design process. In the past, this time afforded creativity and abstract problem solving. In the past the engineer turned manager could think out loud, be self-deprecating, and verbally spar with others on their team. In the past, the team had a level of equality.

Now, the engineer turned manager finds their voice has weight. Now, whenever they present a contrary viewpoint, the team quickly finds the truth in this individual’s logic. Now, when engineer turned manager thinks out loud, their team takes their words as directives. Now, instead of laughing and bonding with the person, the self-deprecating jokes prompt pity and discomfort from the team. Now, instead of equality between them there exists a power dynamic.

The leadership has endowed the engineer turned manager with a ...

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