Confessions of a researchaholic

March 2, 2022

Do you really want to be in management?

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:06 pm

I have some discussions with people (mostly junior individual contributors) asking about moving into management roles.
There are plenty discussions and advices about this topic, but here are some quick personal takes (within the scope of tech/research):

It is a trade-off (opportunity cost) between what you can do as an IC or a manager; the main difference lies in whether you want to spend time and efforts managing people, such as recruiting, guidance, monitoring, review, attending meetings, and dealing with whatever issues your direct reports throw your way.

Influence and leadership are largely orthogonal from people management; one can be a highly influential thought leader without being a people manager, or a people manager who lacks charm or credibility.

Like other career choices, management is worth trying, at least to get a sense of what it is really about (instead of just what you thought/imagined it would be) and whether you will like and excel at it.
There are intermediate steps, such as tech leads, which sit between IC and managers to give you a taste about managing more on the technical than the personal side of things.

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