What do you expect from a truly good manager?!

Bank of America / Other tSWv17
Jan 19 41 Comments

I see more critical comments here on Blind about 'Managers' being a pain in the a** than a great guide/leader (as they are intended to be).

I thought let me ask the community that according to you, "what makes a manager great?", a.k.a. "How do you think a/your manager can truly add value to your/team's job?"

P.S.:
- I expect weird/snazzy comments (unfortunately due to some trolls on Blind) ..but try to make them funny at least.
- couldn't tag more companies, but wanted to include others too companies like Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, etc as well
- TC: $150K

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TOP 41 Comments
  • Google / Eng hooli.xyz
    A manager is there to serve the team and ensure the team is working optimally. A manager also cares about the careers of the people in the team.

    A manager is not simply someone who bosses people around. I especially see this in south asian teams, which is unfortunate.
    Jan 19 1
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @hooli.xyz - thanks for that. Some follow-ups:

      1- what are typical scenarios where you see (bad) managers bossing around? (examples: interfering in tech decisions/forcing to be on all emails/weird ways to take status)

      2- How imp is it that managers sometimes do some IC work?, OR, is that taken as interfere?

      3- I've seen some (technically skilled) managers take a lottt of interest in design sessions and have a strong will to influence design..is that interpreted as a good/bad thing?
      Jan 19
  • Facebook WDWO10
    Good managers channel information down to their reports: what's discussed in the skip/above levels, future roadmaps, strategies, etc.

    Good managers also promote their reports work to skip/above level to increase visibility/get resources.

    Harder part of good management: understand individual reports strengths and leverage them in advancing the team's direction/goals. It is a lot of hard work to get to know each report's growth goals and aspirations, and make sure they are set up for success. There will be times where there is a mismatch between the team's goal and the individual's goal, and good managers may choose to help their reports to transition.
    Jan 19 3
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @WDWO10 - love the reply..very insightful.
      Had some follow-ups, if you don't mind:
      1- visibility point is very valid, but what do you mean by "get resources"? - an example/elaboration would be awesome.
      2- a lot of (talented, but young) engineers tend to have single minded goal these days (no thanks to Blind): 'High(er) TC' -- how to deal with this situation?
      Jan 19
    • Facebook WDWO10
      1. If your reports are senior/principal levels, they are also expected to initiate/lead and there will be times resources conversation will emerge. Orgwide budget planning/HC/budget to hire contractors, interns, etc. Sometimes there is a joint project with other teams and the cost may be shared by different teams.

      2. TC is often controlled by the org budget so I don't think this is a manager's responsibility. Promotion/performance based bonus are different conversations but I don't consider good manager == good rating. Instead, a better way to look at this as part of TC conversation is the time cost of learning and growth. Think of this way: you make a certain $$$ doing repetitive tasks for a year with no growth, or you can learn and grow for a year so that you reach a more senior capacity that will increase your responsibilities and TC. A critical requirement of growth is timely, constructive feedback and air cover from a good manager who understands what their reports need and find a way to get it for them. Of course you can grow from bad managers too, but the emotional cost is enormous and may set you on a negative path for too long until you realise.

      The reality is that working with a good manager/leader alone can allow you to learn and grow so much faster but they are far and between. Good managers are often resourceful (a good manager with flexible mindset would encourage you to try a different solution after the initial approach failed - it is the kind of air cover I am talking about) and have org knowledge to navigate complex situations (that their reports face). Feedback and support have to come together to be truly effective though. Some OK managers believe they are good by providing feedback but if they don't do anything to support their reports' projects beyond feedback then it is still a sink-or-swim situation.

      If you find yourself with a good manager who does both constructive feedback and support, then make sure you observe and pick up these little things and combine with your unique knowledge/perspective and one day you will find yourself grown into a more senior role.
      Jan 20
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @WDWO10 - first, thanks for taking the time to write that up. Second, the content you put in #2 is amazing..I really do wish that I get to work for/alongside brilliant managers as yourself!
      Jan 20
  • Oath / Mgmt Atinlay
    Are you looking for a manager or a 🤡 to entertain you?
    Jan 19 8
    • Oath / Mgmt Atinlay
      “I'm just looking for quality answers from the community.”
      Jan 19
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @Atinlay - how was that helpful? I really meant to ask you about 'Oath - Mgmt' cuz your username suggests as much.
      Jan 19
    • Oath / Mgmt Atinlay
      You’ll know a good a manager when you see it, there is no magic formula. Either you get it or you don’t. Communication and earned trust go a long way. There are many other soft skills too.

      A bad employee under a good manager is still a bad employee.
      Jan 19
    • Amazon
      vmprwrkday

      Amazon

      PRE
      Google, Facebook
      BIO
      I’m just here for the scraps
      vmprwrkdaymore
      A bad manager is just a bad employee who costs more
      Jan 19
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @Atinlay - good points, noted. Thanks.
      Jan 19
  • Microsoft :;/edit
    Do:

    Encourage people
    Smile
    Keep the integrity of the company in check
    Be a human, empathize with people, when they need time off, give it to them

    Everything is a give and take, you ask for a little extra, give a little extra back. Your direct was on a call late last night? Might be good to encourage them to WFH the next day if they logistically would help them.

    Hold people accountable by being a visionary that encourages the future.
    Jan 19 6
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      As a manager you see behind the curtain more than others.

      You watch as people senior to you make decisions that might be ethically challenging. You are uniquely positioned to influence good and integrity, this means fighting for your people at rewards and for promotions, even when your manager or others might bring up something unfair to your employee, you bring the balance back to the scales of justice.
      Jan 19
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      I once had a manager in people review try to tell me I needed to give one of my directs a 20% rewards for one interaction he didn’t like 5 days prior in a conference room. I vehemently refused. I got kicked out the meeting. HR was displeased with me.

      End result, employee got 80% (better than 20%) and I slept better that night.

      Management requires courage and bravery, that’s what will make you a great leader.
      Jan 19
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @:;/edit - you definitely seem like a smart & brave manager - appreciate your words.

      Just curious - the whole defiance of your manager's advise in the 20%-80% example you gave, did it have any sort of negative effect?
      (if you honestly look back in hindsight)
      Jan 19
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      Yeah I almost got fired, I got raked over the coals in my review. I got a 20% rewards, my connect says “unfit to lead or manage others” I got a forced meeting with HR where she accused me of “irritating the delicate relationship with my manager” 😅

      Well, still kicking, have some of the highest MSPoll numbers around. But yes, standing up for what’s right will sometimes require you to take a bullet, be smart and wear your Kevlar vest and pray it doesn’t kill you.

      But I sleep good at night, I would rather be fired for fighting for what I believe in, than be complacent to thieves and rest and vest for 20 years.
      Jan 19
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @:;/edit - you really are a brave fella! Kudos! I hope to get to work with wonderful managers like yourself!
      Jan 19
  • Citibank Qt7l
    BofA is the epitome of bad management, and that’s coming from Citi.
    Jan 19 3
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @Qt7l - agreed partially; partially cuz not all managers at BofA are bad.
      Anyhow..I asked the question more so that I can either - avoid becoming a manager, or - can become a great manager (if it comes to that).
      Jan 19
    • Citibank Qt7l
      Best lesson I learned (coming from a string of bad managers) is learn from the bad ones by not doing what they do. You’ll learn the rest via experience. Just be authentic and speak for what you feel is right. If you find yourself in a company that doesn’t support that (BofA doesn’t) leave.
      Jan 19
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @Qt7l - good advise, noted! Thanks for that.
      Jan 19
  • Paychex 0x2badc0de
    The first thing is to treat all his/her employees equally and not favors one over another just because they know them more or whatever.
    Jan 19 2
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @0x2adc0de - fair point, follow-up: how would you handle a situation where you want to promote someone cuz they are clearly deserving but don't want other team members to feel you are being unfair?

      (I understand this might involve best practices day-to-day, related to running a team successfully - but some ideas here would be helpful)
      Jan 19
    • Paychex 0x2badc0de
      To deserve a promotion you either had # of years or accomplished some sort of project or something so if everyone in the same boat will get the promotions then no one will feel it was unfair.
      Jan 19
  • Uber tamtamtam
    Check this AMA which has some really relevant and detailed thoughts: “I’m a (real) Eng Manager at Uber. AMA (Office Life)"
    https://us.teamblind.com/s/xfhryErz
    Jan 21 1
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @tamtamtam - thanks for that, noted!
      Jan 21
  • VMware / Product lRQQ72
    Good manager provides air cover, especially in case of fuck ups
    Good manager removes roadblocks so ths team can succeed
    Good manager finds interesting and high visibility projects with the appropriate budgets for the team. To succeed and grow
    Good managers sees strengths and weaknesses and advises the approach so one is visible and the other stays hidden
    Good manager takes action when people underperformed quickly and takes the blame for the bad hire or assignment.
    Good manager will fight for his people as Msft /edit did above in reviews, bonus distribution etc.
    Good manager will ensure managers under his do the same as noted above
    Good manager never preaches water and drinks wine I. E. Expense or travel policy - leads by example
    Jan 19 1
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @IRQQ72 - some great tips right there. Awesome - thanks!
      Jan 20
  • ViaSat / Design mark1650
    A good manager can create a good plan with an achievable schedule. A good manager shares in the blame when things go bad and shares the rewards when things go well. Most often what I see is a bunch of greedy fucks at the top end.
    Jan 20 3
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @mark1650 - thanks for that; any ideas around how to deal with those "greedy fucks"?!
      Jan 20
    • ViaSat / Design mark1650
      Seems like the guys who do the best are the ones who happen to have an extra slot for a foursome at the golf course etc and/or happen to have the same hobbies and interests.
      Jan 20
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @mark1650 - interesting..wonder how people end up banding over (or even finding out) common hobbies or interests...I'm not there yet by far. Lol
      Jan 20
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @backwoods - thanks for that!

      Question: Can you give an example of the point you raised?
      (I ask cuz your point is solid and I'm trying to find solid overlap b/w a manager & team when it comes to processes/standards - like are we talking about managers who still code, or own design decisions, or perhaps I got it wrong..)
      Jan 19
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @backwoods - totally agree with you. I can see how coding managers might do what you said.
      At the same time, I've seen some very good managers who participate in code reviews, design decisions and give input which genuinely helps..they don't code day-to-day though. 🤔
      Jan 19
  • Oracle scarecrow
    Are you a manager?
    Jan 19 1
    • Bank of America / Other tSWv17
      OP
      @scarecrow - I'm not a manager (yet) - only a Tech Lead but started thinking about this topic after reading critical stuff about managers on Blind. 😌
      Jan 19