10 signs that you have not transitioned from an engineer mindset to a leader mindset (despite having a CTO job title)

Here’s how to tell if you still have an engineer mindset rather than a leader mindset, even if you have the job title as CTO/VP/Director of Engineering.

1. You think the biggest value you add to the business is having expert technical knowledge, rather than translating business vision into technical vision and strategy.

2. You are not interested and don’t comment on the other presentations or proposals from the other departments during C suite or board meetings.

3. You don’t have a clear tech vision or tech strategy that aligns with the business, nor do you regularly and compellingly present, discuss and remind the engineering teams about this.

4. You go from crisis to crisis, constantly fire fighting, you don’t plan much, you don’t often think about risk to the business of tech architecture or design.

5. You think that you need more engineers because the board asked you to change or add something to the product, but you don’t know exactly what you can achieve with the engineers you have.

6. You don’t have clear engineering metrics, and even if you do, they are purely related to technology and the tech stack, not to how it helps the business make money/hit goals.

7. You don’t often talk to the other department heads and you hear your engineers complaining about them often.

8. You tell the board/csuite that you need to tackle tech debt but you expect them to trust you why this needs to be done, rather than making a business case for it.

9. You don’t like managing people — you think it’s “fluffy stuff” someone else should bother with and much prefer being in your lab hacking stuff.

10. You don’t think about things that would help make both engineering more efficient but also would save/make money for the business.

What else would you say are signs that you have not mentally transitioned from engineer to leader?

Post partly inspired by Bob Salmon.

#cto #ceo #engineers #teams #leadership #reengineeringleadership



Adelina Chalmers a.k.a The Geek Whisperer

Helps Engineers who are Leaders (CEO/ CTO/ VP) get buy-in from their peers/teams/investors by transforming Communication techniques into Algorithms