Recently I promoted two senior developers into a team lead role. After a few weeks both told me that they feel less productive now because they have that “manager stuff” and administration tasks to do and can no longer do as much implementation work as they were used to. That is a common feeling among managers, in psychology it is called the impostor syndrome. Well, becoming a manager in software development does mean having new tasks and therefore less time for coding. But does that mean that you are less valuable for your company now?

The simple answer is: NO. But you have to learn that there is now an extended definition of “your value”.

your_value = your_outcome + sum([team_member_outcomes])

In words: It is not only your outcome that counts, but additionally that of your team members. What does that mean? To increase your value you could either work on the left summand or the right one. Take my advice: It is much more efficient to work on the latter. Given your time restrictions you can not do much more coding stuff yourself (at least not without ruining your health) - but you can direct your “manager efforts” towards increasing the outcome of your team members. Here are some hints:

  • Give them necessary information that they need from outside the team.
  • Form an environment in which they can make quick and good decisions.
  • Help them learn.
  • Remove obstacles.

Once you walk that path you will realize that there is really, really no reason for feeling like an impostor.

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