It’s worth spending some time on a promising employee
Engineering Leader at Uber
During my time at Yelp, a woman reporting to me was technically very competent and very motivated. On top of that, she was very good at coaching others and was able to think critically about situations and determine what could have been done better. These qualities made me think that she could become a great manager, and I talked about it with other managers. They had their doubts. She had a fairly quiet nature and was rather introverted during meetings, so they didn't see her as a potential leader.
I had a conversation with her in order to know more about her aspirations. Even though her next step forward was not clear, she confirmed that she was willing to do more. I was really confident that she could be a good engineering manager, so I decided to invest some time into it. First, I made sure I was giving her the right opportunities, which allowed her to show that she was able to manage challenging projects. Second, I pointed out the impact she was having on projects during the one-on-ones I had with my peers and my manager. Finally, I helped her to improve in her areas of difficulties, by providing her coaching to help her talk more during meetings and asking her to give her point of view more often. Over the course of three months, she was able to act as the tech lead on the team.
"Everyone has areas of difficulties, and as a manager, you should ensure that individuals can leverage their strengths."
"When you identify that someone has the potential to be a good manager, it's worth spending some time on that person's areas of growth."
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