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How to Build Rapport With an Introverted Manager

Managing Expectations
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Juniors

17 November, 2021

Piyush Dubey
Piyush Dubey

Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft

Piyush Dubey, Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft, shares his journey of climbing up the career ladder through awkward times dealing with an introverted manager.

Problems With an Introverted Boss

Sometimes, it's not easy to satisfy your manager's needs, especially when they are an introvert.

I had an introverted manager, and it was not easy to get feedback from them. My primary career goal was to improve and grow, and upon joining a new company, the only feedback I'd get from my manager was, "I was doing good." Being self-reflective, I knew that there were areas where I could improve, but there were no guidelines or a plan for the next step that'd help me become a better developer or colleague.

How to Deal With Them?

Ask Questions:

Naturally, when they aren't talking, you have to do it yourself. I invented some questions that my manager did not have in his mind. I asked them to give me feedback on how they thought I was working with the team. In essence, I did not shy away from asking about the type of projects I should pick up to understand the entire product better.

Get a Mentor:

In engineering, working in an agile environment, we don't work on many design-related projects. I asked my manager what kind of projects consisted of more system designs, which involved working with senior engineers. In the process, I also asked my manager to provide me with a mentor or a go-to person when they are not always available.

Become a Mentor for Your Juniors:

Having such mechanisms helped me become a better developer, and in turn, be a better mentor for other developers. When it was my time to share knowledge with junior engineers, I could provide them with very objective feedback. I helped them see some options they had not even considered.

Look Back on What You Want:

Merely asking questions to your manager is not sufficient. Be self-reflective, and ask yourself some questions on what you want and where you want to go in a few years down the line. If you're going to become a manager in the future, ask them for feedback based on that goal. Make sure to get adequate guidance on the path that you want to pick.

Communication is the Key

  • Do not make assumptions; instead, call to clarify, not leaving any space for misunderstanding. Ask questions to the point, which would help you move towards that path.
  • Even if you have to draw some conclusions, assume the best intentions in people. Particularly when organizations are increasingly remote, it could be difficult for people 一 especially introverts 一 to ask questions. Formalize the process in which you meet each other or have a more structured conversation to give each other some time and space.

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