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Fame not included (or necessary)

Today I was asked a question I’ve never heard before: “When it comes to engineering management, who do you look up to?”

I stammered a bit, naming off authors of books I’d read — the usual suspects: Michael Lopp, Camille Fournier, Ron Lichty, Johanna Rothman, etc.

Afterward, I realized I hadn’t been truthful.

I didn’t look up to any of those people. I considered them “thought leaders,” but I didn’t look up to them.

And how could I? I’d never worked for any of them.

The Answer
It didn’t take long to come up with the answer.

The Engineering Manager I still look up to most is someone you’ve most probably never heard of.

His name is Milind, and I worked for him for ten years.

He taught me a great deal and was loyal to me. In turn, I did my best to be loyal to him.

He created an environment where I could do the best work of my life.

Since then I have not, and may never again, have that kind of special relationship with a manager.

Why do you care?
Chances are good that someone is looking up to YOU today.

That you are someone’s best boss – the one they will tell stories about for years, and strive to emulate.

Never forget that your work matters, even if you’re not famous.

Especially when you’re not famous.

Thanks, Milind.


Who do you look up to?



About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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