I had no idea what kind of problems people expect you to solve as a Manager. Even before my official start date, I got pulled into a meeting with the board of directors. Folks so far up the chain I’d never seen them before. I had the pleasure of explaining an outage while my manager was on holiday.

I did not expect my comfort zone to play such an important role in my day to day. Before I became a manager, I was a Scrum Master for 5+ years and a developer for over a decade. With that experience, only a few things surprised me. Is one project that different from the others? And how many retro’s can you host before you know how to handle most pushback? I was confident I experienced most things and could pull from that experience.

And when I started I realized I could no longer count on my previous experiences. Your main focus is on people. And people problems are hard. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

Besides the people problems, there will be enough problems you had no idea would come your way. Instead of only your problems, you will get all the problems of your direct reports. An exponential increase!

Over time I learned there will always be a new and different problem. Other problems like hard conversations will never feel easy.

So what can you do as an Engineering Leader? Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Instead of seeing being uncomfortable as something bad, lean into it. See it as an opportunity to learn, expand it, and come out as a more experienced person. Trust yourself to know you are somewhat decent at solving problems. You are a leader for a reason!

If you made it this far in the post: Take on that hard uncomfortable thing. Lean into that uncomfortable feeling. You can thank me later.

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