In most software engineering jobs, you’re going to have a manager that you report to. Now, a manager’s role or impact is going to be very different depending on the person you and your manager are, and what the organizational structure might look like. But generally speaking, managers are there to help you succeed in your role. Just to paint a better picture of who your manager is because I know this can be vague, especially as a software engineer starting out, Here’s some examples of what is typically included in their role: Great managers create an inviting and safe space for you to discuss what’s on your mind. I’ve talked to my managers about things like possible projects I’m interested in pursuing, to talking about someone on the team I’m not jiving with personally. They’ll also enable you to do your best work by removing blockers whether that may be logistical or mental to allow you to succeed. This might include things like helping you manage your time better by removing an obligation you might have Or helping you to gain the confidence you need to pursue something new and challenging. And lastly, they’ll work to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are and provide critical feedback to tell you how to improve and grow towards the software engineer that you want to be. These are just some of the things you can expect from your manager. Now we’ll dive into how you can think about your relationship with your manager. One way I like to think of this relationship is that you are the pilot of your own plane. In this example your career is represented by the plane. You decide the destination of where to go and how to get there. You’re going to have some ups and downs, hit turbulence and sometimes get tired from flying. Your manager is your co-pilot, who’s there for you if anything happens and can help provide any expertise or knowledge you don’t have. They’ll be there to make sure you get to where you want to be. Like any relationship this one is also a two-way street. Which means that the benefits of having a manager are not going to come naturally. It’s going to require some work from both parties. Communication is going to be a huge key to the success of this relationship. So here are my tips on how to foster a great relationship with your manager. 1. At the beginning of the relationship, meet often. I tend to do one hour meetings with my manager once a week until about three months in. That way you can check in with each other often and communicate about what’s going well and what’s not going well. You’ll also get to know each other better during this time which leads me to my next point. 2. Get to know your manager – One of the best ways to navigate this is with intentful communication When I mean intenful communication, I mean over-communicating and explaining everything so that everything is crystal clear. Talking about things like what makes you excited to what your worried about is a great way to get to know each other. To help guide the conversation, I’ve created a guide that you can download and can take with you on your 1-on-1’s with your manager. The link will be down in the description below. These questions will help to get to know your manager a little better And help you foster conversations around your career and help you navigate through this new relationship. Your manager will answer questions like: What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do they prefer to communicate about sensitive topics? What can you rely on them for? What can you not rely on them for. How did they get into their role they’re in right now and this will help you understand what their career path was like so that you can get first hand advice from them about anything they encountered. You’ll answer questions like: What areas of software engineering are of interest to you? You’ll talk about when you feel happiest. Or what you get easily upset by And you can also talk about ways that you prefer feedback and who you identify as. Depending on who you are as a person and what your career goals are, your needs and your relationship with your manager are going to be unique. An important thing to think about when considering a new job is to find a manager who is fit for you. This requires you to know what kind of help you need and what kinds of managers you like, but you’ll learn this over time. Finding a manager who is going to have your back and is going to push you to be a better version of yourself is going to have compounding benefits throughout your career. Anyway, I hope these tips will help you foster a great relationship with your manager. In the next part, we’ll talk about how to foster a great relationship with your teammates. [music]