Things your manager needs to know about you

The book An Elegant Puzzle has a great list of things your manager should always know about you:

1. What problems you’re trying solve. How you’re trying to solve each of them.
2. That you’re making progress. (Specifically, that you’re not stuck.)
3. What you prefer to work on. (So that they can staff you properly.)
4. How busy you are. (So that they know if you can take on an opportunity that comes up.)
5. What your professional goals and growth areas are. Where you are between bored and challenged.
6. How you believe you’re being measured. (A rubric, company values, some KPIs, etc.)

Will Larson

And he goes on to talk about how to communicate this stuff:

The approach that I’ve found works well is:

1. Maintain a document with this information, which you keep updated and share with your manager. For some managers, this will be enough! Mission accomplished.
2. Sprinkle this information into your one-on-ones, focusing on information gaps (you’re not seeing support around a growth area, you’re too busy, or not busy enough, and so on). Success is filling in information gaps, not reciting a mantra.
3. At some regular point, maybe quarterly, write up a self-reflection that covers each of those aspects. (I’ve been experimenting with a “career narrative” format that is essentially a stack of quarterly self-reflections.) Share that with your manager, and maybe with your peers too!

Will Larson

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