I got promoted to team lead at my company a couple weeks ago. I don't really want the job, but it pays more than even principal engineer, and I was a senior engineer before. I basically neglect half the expected parts of my job like 1 on 1 meetings and interviewing as I am an introvert and am exhausted by too much social interaction.

For you introverts who are managers, how do you do it? I don't need to do a particularly good job, just a passable one. What is the minimum required to be a manager?


5 Answers 5


For you introverts who are managers, how do you do it?

I don't. I thought being manager would be the obvious career progression and it came by itself, I was the most organized and outspoken developer, so they offered me the manager job. In every job from then, the bosses notice that I'm knowledgeable, passionate, respected by colleagues, not shy to make a point in meetings if it's about a topic I know and care about, and they see me as the obvious candidate for a leadership role. And every time I say "Thank you, your trust means a lot to me, but I have to decline, I love being a developer, but I hate being a manager".

Now, when I was naïve and thought managing developers was the same as developing, just with more decision making power, I did the same thing I do when I hit something new in terms of software: I read books. I visited courses. I watched videos. I know how to manage people. I learned how to manipulate people. I just hate doing it.

So your first step should be: learn how to do it. Whether you like it or not, you will always fail if you don't know how it's done. If you decide to not do part of your job, or not do it well on purpose, at least know what you are doing wrong. Who knows, you might actually enjoy it once you have the knowledge how to do it properly.

I don't need to do a particularly good job, just a passable one.

That is a quick way to an early grave, depression or all around misery. Nobody can wake up and be happy about a new day knowing they will do a shitty job on purpose. So why are so many people doing a shitty job? They don't know. Even those idiots you want to scream at, even they got up thinking that they will do a good job today. That is what we take from our jobs: satisfaction of having done something properly. Even if it's just imagined because the person did not know better.

What is the minimum required to be a manager?

You can get that from a $5.99 book on Amazon more eloquent and in more detail than I could provide here. And if you really only read single book (I recommend a lot more) then let it be Peopleware.

So let me challenge that question. Let me ask a different one. What is the minimum for you to lead a happy and healthy life? Is the extra money buying you so much happiness that it can compensate for 8h per day, 40h per week misery? Developer right now is a well paid job, that can afford you most of what you want. Think of what you cannot afford as a developer, but could as a manager. How many hours can you enjoy that? Is it worth 40h per week of anything but work you hate?

Lets assume you want children, and that is pretty costly. What would make them happier, a used car at their 18th birthday from a parent that was always grumpy, unhappy and unapproachable because of the job they hate, or a used bike from a fun and motivated parent who is always around and enjoys life?

Money can buy you a lot of things, but none of those things actually matter. Money is important up to the level where it ensures you can be healthy, well fed, have a nice home, but after that, more food or a nicer home won't do anything if you feel miserable about the large part of your life that is work.


So to sum it up: there is lots of knowledge out there on how to manage people. Read the books. Watch the videos (I guess. I'm old, manager instruction videos came on VHS when I tried, I never did that). Get a course on management, I'm sure your employer is happy to pay to see you trying your best at your new job.

But if you find out that everything you learn is just "knowledge" and you still don't enjoy that job, don't be afraid to say that. Don't be afraid to step down and enjoy your life in a job you really like. Being a "boss" does not make your life happier, money can not buy you happiness. If you like it, great, but if you don't, don't get hung up on it.

  • 3
    This. Been there, done that, returned to senior engineer. The downside of being barely passable is that you may have had a salary bump becoming a manager, but the next one won't come easily. Going from "highly respected engineer" to "mediocre manager" also won't help much should the company hit hard times - lower managers, perceived (righty or wrongly) as costs, are more easily disposable than the people who actually produce the value. Commented Nov 14, 2020 at 19:39
  • If money doesn't make you happy, you're spending it wrong...
    – Laurent S.
    Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 19:15
  • watching course videos on VHS that's dedication right there haha. This answer has been pretty helpful, i kept thinking for the first few months of being a team lead that i'm just learning but after almost a year i'm still miserable, not looking forward to start the day, any bad feedback gets me paranoid, don't like the idea of being responsible for other people, and just generally unhappy.
    – Nickolozo
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 23:29

So I got promoted to team lead at my company a couple weeks ago.

A couple weeks is not enough time to know if a job is right for you, especially if requires more responsibility and ambiguity, where you have to make your own decisions. It takes some time to get used to change. Think about your experience moving up to a Senior Engineer. It was probably uncomfortable stepping into a new role, not sure you could do it, but in the end probably glad you did.

I dont really want the job but it pays more than even principal engineer and I was a senior engineer before.

Which is another way of saying you want the job. You like the pay enough that you're willing to give being a manager a shot. So you have at least some motiviation.

For you introverts who are managers, how do you do it?

Give yourself a break. Practice. Take on a little at a time, rather than try to do everything at once. Learn as you go, and consult with other leads as to how they do things. Find a mentor. Ask others how they deal with so much social interaction all the time. Like most things, it's possible to learn to handle more and more over time.

I dont need to do a particularly good job, just a passable one.

This doesn't really work. Although it's possible it may be a while before you're doing a "good job," by shooting for merely passable, you'll probably end up with something much less so. It's ok to admit that early on your performance may less than ideal, but you should always set your goals higher. That's the only way to keep your job, which I assume you want to do.

What is the minimum required to be a manager?

The minimum required to be a manager is the one thing you're not doing: having 1 on 1 meetings with your team. To be a good manager you have to build trust with your team, know what they need, and act on their behalf. You can only do that with regular conversations.

You can start slow, depending on how many people you have on your team. Maybe schedule a regular weekly/monthly meeting, and also have an "open door" policy. If you keep things on a 1:1 basis, you might find that to be less intimidating or socially overwhelming.

As you get more involved with your team, hopefully that will lead you to the next step -- working daily to make sure your team is happy (or at least reasonably so), which should in turn make your management style more natural.

I'm guessing your company promoted you because they thought you'd do well. Give it a little time to see how it goes, but the most important thing about being a manager is caring about people. If you can do that, great. If you can't, there's no harm in finding another role more suited to your strengths.


How to be a manager if I hate being a manager and just did it for career reasons? I need to do a passable job

Determine what "passable" means in your company and find a way to achieve that.

The first place to look is your boss, and perhaps your management peers. Learn what is expected at your company, and find a way to deliver that.

(You didn't ask, but life is too short to be in a job you hate. I'd advise you to find something you can at least tolerate, if not actually enjoy. People tend to perform much better in roles they like.)


Plenty of managers are introverts, many of whom I would even accuse of being good at their jobs. If you've worked for any good managers in the past (or now for that matter), the easiest thing you can do is emulate them. If you are still in contact with any of these individuals, I suggest you reach out and ask if they would be willing to mentor you. This way you will have access to immediate feedback about any concern/problem you run into from a source you trust.

If you're looking to improve your Managerial Skills, there are plenty of of options for you to explore. From personal experience, I will say take a look at Situational Leadership Theory. In a nutshell, people progress through their roles with different levels of maturity and each level requires a different mentorship/leadership approach to help said resource excel and grow. What you can do is help lead/mentor your team on the skills you are confident with, mainly the engineering side of the job. As related to your manager skills, reach out to others to help you grow in the areas you are currently lacking as I suggested before.

Finally, and this is something that most people may not be comfortable with, I suggest you be honest with your team. Be upfront with them that you are new to the role and ask for some understanding and patience. If they have feedback, ask they make it constructive as helping you do your job better helps them be better at theirs. Management is not some bastion of solitude you have to endure without the support of your team. You can be a great manager while being a great team member at the same time. A lot will depend on the personality of your team, but I find that being honest, even about the difficult things, is often times the best way to avoid unnecessary problems.

On a closing note (and as some of the other answers have also stated), you didn't become a Senior Engineer in two weeks, and you won't become a good manager in such a short period of time either. Don't get discouraged if you aren't praised as a good manager out of the gate. Like any skillset, it takes time and focus to develop.


The good thing about being a manager is that you can tell other people what to do. So just pick the now subordinate team-member you think most suitable for the job and choose him/her to be your sidekick/lieutenant. Next delegate/dump most of the management tasks on him/her.

  • 3
    This has a lot of downvotes, but no critical comments - so I feel I should actually answer this head-on. The problem with this approach is that most management tasks (and especially the tasks the OP dislikes most) can't realistically be delegated. A sidekick can't do performance reviews, can't do 1 on 1's, can't sit with HR to decide on disciplinary matters. Sure, some of the admin work can be delegated, but even then, this could come back to bite you if actual technical tasks are being neglected so your "sidekick" can do what should be your job. Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 8:40
  • Why has this answer been down voted? Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 8:41
  • 1
    @OmarL "Delegate" and "dump" are two completely different things. This answer appears to recommend that the OP avoid the responsibilities of the job by taking advantage of a subordinate. Delegation can be valuable when used to give someone more experience and a sense of ownership, where the manager acts as mentor. This answer also reads as quite cynical. If my take is incorrect, then this answer should probably be expanded to explain more clearly what is meant by delegation.
    – mcknz
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 1:35

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