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Why do you want to be an engineering manager?

By John Lafleur 1 minute read

TL;DR: A great list of all the dimensions that is comprised in an engineering management role, by the GM of Box. Not an easy role!


I constantly run into folks [1] who want to become engineering managers – by that I mean managers within an engineering organization (vs. managers of engineering teams) [2]. I usually ask them “why do you want to be an engineering manager?” and that leads to (a series of) conversations along the axes I’m going to outline below. Rarely do I cross paths with someone who has already thought things through and has a good answer as to why they want to lead and why they are qualified to lead. Moreover, I run into many *current* engineering managers who’ve never had this conversation (with themselves, with their team, or with their manager).

I had this chat with someone recently who asked me a very valid follow-up question: “so how do I get better at it?”. In order to talk through how to evolve as an engineering manager, let’s first walk through the different dimensions that make up the role.


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