Inwards, Outwards,and Holistics
There are all sorts of intimidating titles surrounding the management caste. Engineering manager, senior engineering manager, director of engineering, vice president of engineering, chief technology officer. While these names are useful in determining where a individual lies in the organizational chart, the names are merely hints as to what that person actually cares about; and you should care what they care about whether you're a manager or an individual contributor.
Like it or not, your boss has as much effect on your career as you do, and they also effectively sign your paycheck every two weeks, and that means food. Sure, you can leave and go elsewhere, but there's a manager there, too, and he's got ...