Great software speaks for itself.

How do you want to grow?

originally written September 23, 2014

Are you sure you want to move into management this early in your career?

This question haunted me for a couple of months earlier this year, ever aware of our hiring goals and the brief opportunity-window for me to make a calculated course-correction in my “career”. Being at a high-growth startup has afforded me the opportunity to transition into management, but why would I do such a crazy thing so early in my career? Won’t that make me a weaker programmer in the long run?

Maybe so. I suppose there is that risk. Spending more time in spreadsheets, reporting structures, and product status meetings has this way of addling a good coder’s mind.

After debating the opportunity for some time, something guided me to the question one should ask themselves at any career juncture.

How do you want to grow?

Phrased this way, I already knew the answer in my heart. It is my goal to be as prepared for my inevitable entrepreneurial journey as I need to be, roughly no more or no less.

What do you need for your journey?

Only you can answer this for yourself.

For me, I recognized the obvious need for real managerial experience, because the people I work with in future years deserve to have a leader who doesn’t lose their peace over the painful balancing act that is growth management.

Take what you need. Leave the rest behind.

You can’t carry everything with you.

These days I spend a lot of my free time learning about great managers and what has worked for them. I simply can’t spend as much free time coding as I used to.

There are several key strengths and skillsets that I know I can master and contribute to the next great team that we form. Being a disciplined software engineer is one of them, and being a great supporter, listener, and relator is definitely another.

How do you want to grow?

The peace this question has brought me throughout my life has revealed a deeper truth about the kind of manager I want to be.

Great contributors ask themselves: “How do I want to grow?”

Great managers ask their people: “How do you want to grow with us?”

Dedicated to my loving parents, for always asking me “How do you want to grow?”.