When I was a junior engineer, I thought that it’s my manager’s job to manage me. It even says so in the name: manage-r. I just do my work, and my manager manages me.

In reality, the reporting relationship is a two-way street, no different from any of your personal relationships. It requires effort from both sides. As a reportee, you manage up:

Understand your team’s goals, which are the same as the manager’s goals. Then, understand what you need to do for the team to achieve its goals. Ask your manager explicitly, “What do you need from me for the team to achieve its overall goals?” Asking explicitly is good because managers rarely communicate it so directly [1]. In addition to the what, the how, which is the overall context, is also important. For example, if the goal is to launch an MVP ASAP with a low quality, and you take a lot of time to deliver something polished, you’re not fitting in to the overall plan. …


Kartick Vaddadi

CTO, Squadcast. Earlier: IIT | Google | Founder | Advisor.

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