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Gergely Orosz on the decision to go into management

Lead Time Chats: Season 1, Episode 5 Takeaways

March 23, 2021

In Episode 5 of Lead Time Chats, Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, chats with Gergely Orosz — formerly at Uber, Skyscanner, and Skype — about the decision to go into management.

Jean and Gergely chat about:

  • Why Gergely thought management was LAME - and resisted becoming a manager
  • The huge contrast between becoming an “accidental manager” at a startup and becoming a manager at Uber
  • Defining his leadership by having a list he had created of all the managers he wanted to avoid being
  • How to support new managers and set them up for success
  • How a checklist of management activities can create a tighter feedback loop for new managers
  • The unexpected loneliness of being a manager

Takeaways from Gergely

The move into management can be incredibly lonely

“When you become a manager you lose all your peers, you cannot talk about them about the important stuff, the performance, the uncertainty, the fact that you don't know what you're doing. I didn't realize how difficult it would be , especially when you're promoted from a team that you know. The relationship changes because again, the most important stuff you cannot share.”

Avoid being a don't-care manager

“I started to make note of the things that I hated about my managers . I had a manager who seemed to care. I like to call this person,  don't-care manager. Every time I asked for feedback, he said, you're doing great. I support what you do. You're amazing. When it came to performance review time, it was like, hmm, yeah your performance was middle of the 60% of Microsoft.

We have this ladder from one to five, I got a three. I asked him, but you told me I'm doing great and he didn't have any answers. And I realized he just didn't care. He just kind of went with the flow. So this was one thing I didn't want to do.”

Being a manager doesn't necessarily mean more money or power

“A lot of people assume that as a manager, you get more money, you get more information, more power, right? As a manager, you will always have a power dynamic, like it or not, because you have a say in the performance review. At Uber, my salary did not change. My bonus went down because I was on the same level.

My bonus targets stayed the same, but I was now compared against managers. As a senior engineer, I was top of the band. I would have been promoted to the next level pretty quickly, probably. As the manager, I was more bottom of the band, so technically I left money on the table. But I really liked that this was the case because it made me reflect, do I want to stretch myself and do what felt like a lot of extra work for this?”

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About Lead Time Chats

Listen in on unscripted conversations between Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range and engineering leadership coach, and engineering leaders and other influential folks in tech.

Lead Time Chats is brought to you by Range. Range helps hybrid teams check-in asynchronously about what matters most. Know what's happening through status updates that pull from tools like Github and JIRA without scheduling yet another meeting.

Checking-in with Range creates more focus time for heads-down work, all while feeling a deeper sense of connection and belonging with your team. To learn more about Range, you can check it out here.

S1 E5: Gergely Orosz on the decision to go into management
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