Paint drip engineer manager/leader
Why it matters regardless of the company size
The paint drip people concept is not new. It has been there for a while already. Yet, sometimes we forget that some concepts apply to new contexts.
Today, I am sharing the need to be explicit on how management and leadership shall follow the same principle of paint drip people.
Paint drip developer
A paint drip developer says you will learn about different skills to deliver value over time as the other products/projects need you to grow those skills. They are becoming what is known as a generalist.
Instead of going deep on one area, let’s say Java. You go broad, learning a little of here and there. Not only at tooling, frameworks, and libraries but also in testing, DevOps, …
Here is an illustration using the concept of a T-shape developer to clarify that it is not only about technical knowledge.
Paint drip manager/leader
If you are transitioning or have already transitioned to an engineer manager/leader role, it is quite probable that you are already a paint drip engineer. You have been looking at the big picture and understanding multiple disciplines to deliver value. That tends to help people to reach leadership positions within an organization based on my experience.
Yet, when we start our manager/leader journey, some forget about the concept that helped us grow. Be a paint drip person.
It is probable that you already have curiosity in another area, say, product or design. That’s good! But that’s not the end for a paint drip manager. It might be seen as a T-shaped manager tho!
A good manager should also be a paint drip person in the long term. Of course, do not aim to be good at everything as well as you did on your engineering journey! You made one skill at a time over your all journey.
To be a good paint drip leader, you should apply what you already know. One skill at a time but continuously learning.
Understanding other roles outside engineering leadership will help you better understand your organization works and help when people are missing in those critical positions until you onboard the right people.
If you are in a start-up like myself, you might find yourself doing roles outside your expertise all the time. Those moments define an excellent paint-drip leader. You adapt to the different organization and team needs by helping where you are most needed.
I have been lucky to work with many paint drip people. They were engineers, designers, product managers, founders, people, and more. They all shared the same triad; learning what is required to push the mission forward.
I hope this post finds you at the moment to continue exploring and learning things outside your role. They will help you grow outside your comfort zone!
Leadership is hard enough to take things easy—one thing at a time.
First, become confident with your skills as an engineering leader, for example, but keep learning from time to time from other roles.
All the best in your journey! 🧡
Generalist or Specialist — welcome to the PaintDrip Model - Bernardo Carneiro
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World - David Epstein