Back to resources

How Managers Can Support Employee Career Growth

Personal Growth
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Juniors

5 October, 2021

Bavyaa Vasudevan
Bavyaa Vasudevan

Sr Director of Engineering at Salesforce

Bavyaa Vasudevan, Sr Director of Engineering at Salesforce, shares how she took a personal interest in one of her team member’s career goals and encouraged them to grow in their career.

Problem

When I joined my current company, I was still getting to know people when I came across a person who reported to one of my managers (the manager reported to me). Eventually, when I got through skip-level meetings with the person, I got the hint that what she was doing might not be what she wanted to do. She had a few blocks in her role that was preventing her from doing her best. While she was relatively new to the team, we thought that her limited product knowledge might obstruct the way, so we gave them some feedback to work towards.

Going forward, we moved her to a new role in the team that would place them closer to the product owner so that she could bridge the gaps. Although she was working as a developer in the group, I understood that she was a lot more interested in product management. Her extreme passion for product management made her feel she was stuck in the wrong role, waiting for an opportunity to move. But the transition from engineering to PM is challenging.

In a way, it was like a chicken and egg problem; organizations don’t allow them to move into that role, but when there’s an opportunity, they want someone with ample experience. The person was stuck in a vicious cycle.

Actions taken

Given her situation, all she needed was someone who would listen to her and pinpoint the various opportunities and things she could try. As part of that, I introduced her to 2 other product managers within the organization to somewhat have a mentoring conversation with her.

I could also relate to her current situation - I had been through some of those challenges in my career. This was so that she would not lose hope. She was on the verge of losing hope because she could not make the move she wanted. I explained to her about my experiences when I was moving from engineering to engineering management, which left her some light at the end of the tunnel.

Introducing her to the product owners was also not just about mentoring; one of them ended up giving her an idea and asked her to create a product requirement document. It acted like a practice for her, which was great! Working with the product owner was an excellent opportunity for her as she was also referred to some great books for people making this transition. She took that pretty seriously! She did have enough in her toolbox that came in handy during their interviews for one of the product-related roles within the company.

She shared all the steps that she had taken to invest in herself to climb this mountain. With all of that, she was able to impress the new team because she was not just talking; instead, she was walking the talk. Finally, she did earn herself the role in product management by showcasing what values she would add to the company. Today, she is very happy in her current role and is paving the way to a more fruitful future.

Lessons learned

  • Sometimes people feel down when they are blocked, and all they need are encouraging words. They also need people to encourage them and believe in them.
  • I have learned to recognize potential and invest in people, even when I don’t see the light coming through right away. At times, people get into the loop of giving up and then stop investing in themselves, which is like hitting a wall kind of a situation. Your role as a mentor and a sounding board is more important than ever.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

10x engineer or 10x impact?

26 May

Hiring 10x engineers is hard for most companies. It’s a tough battle out there for talent. So how should most companies approach building their team?

Building A Team
Leadership
Hiring
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Vaidik Kapoor

Vaidik Kapoor

VP Engineering - DevOps & Security at Grofers

The Art of Asking Why: Narrowing the Gap Between Customers and Users

24 May

Jord Sips, Senior Product Manager at Mews, shares his expertise on a common challenge for product managers – finding root causes and solutions.

Customers
Innovation / Experiment
Product
Personal Growth
Leadership
Stakeholders
Users
Jord Sips

Jord Sips

Senior Product Manager at Mews

Growing Through Different Engineering Lead Roles

8 May

Weiyuan Liu describes his experience moving up from an individual contributor, tech lead, and engineering manager.

Leadership
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Career Path
Weiyuan Liu

Weiyuan Liu

Director of Engineering at Zillearn

Preparing For Your First Presentation: The Art of Public Speaking

8 May

Weiyuan Liu shares his insights on public speaking, such as how to prepare for your first presentation.

Different Skillsets
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Weiyuan Liu

Weiyuan Liu

Director of Engineering at Zillearn

Here to Make a Recognizable Difference: How to Develop Teams

5 May

Eric Merritt, VP of Engineering at Whitepages.com, divulges on the many complexities of developing teams in management by solving problems according to their needs, and empowering teams.

Leadership
Impact
Sharing The Vision
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Eric Merritt

Eric Merritt

VP of Engineering at Whitepages.com

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.