Back to resources

Identifying Individuals for Career Growth Opportunities

Handling Promotion
Personal Growth
Sharing The Vision
Retention
Stakeholders

22 April, 2022

Jay Dave
Jay Dave

Sr Director Of Engineering at Synack

Jay Dave, Sr Director Of Engineering at Synack, shares how he has learned to identify team members for promotion by observing their interactions with non-engineering leaders and how they handle stress.

The Difficulty of Identifying High-Performing Team Members

There are always individuals who go above and beyond for each project or task on each team. These team members continuously search for things they can do and challenge themselves. As an engineering lead, these team members may be direct reports or not, so setting KPIs to identify hard-working individuals is essential.

Using these signals is essential when bringing up promotion with other managers, as they need information that details why this team member should move up the career ladder. Sometimes these individuals need more opportunities to empower them for their next position and help them with possible burnout.

How to Understand When a Team Member is Ready for a Promotion

Traits to Look For:

Whenever one of my managers has an individual up for a potential promotion, I ask my managers to focus on a few key items. They look for consistency in delivering goals, going above expectations, ensuring the team delivers goals, and being detail-focused. If my team was working on a scenario for a specific Jira ticket, I would see if this team member brought up related cases and connected the details.

Outside of the day-to-day interactions, I search to see how well a team member is doing with different team collaboration activities. Are they focused on the PR reviews? Are they taking opportunities to help other team members do better? Are they focused on all activities that allow them to have action-driven outcomes?

Interaction with Non-Engineering Stakeholders:

After identifying the key traits of this potential new leader, I look to see how this individual interacts with technical as well as non-technical individuals. As one gets higher in the career ladder, they become more out of touch with the day-to-day technical side of things. Therefore, explaining massively technical problems to non-engineering stakeholders can be difficult, and I look to see what type of language they use.

Current Stressors:

One of the last aspects of a leader I look for in a candidate is their ability to complete tasks and projects under stress. Without preventing burn-out, I try to identify their aptitude towards stressful situations that require sprint planning. To test their capabilities, I provide team members with opportunities that will allow them to work in safely structured stressful environments.

Dealing with Specific Promotion Situations

  • In my one-on-ones with team members up for a promotion, I look to see if they are engaging their strengths and taking on more responsibility in those areas. If they are struggling to engage in these areas, sometimes you need to have them shadow a leader or provide them with leadership materials. Once they have worked through these materials, follow-up with these team members to see if they better understand the role.
  • Sometimes certain individuals reach their growth limit within a company. Smaller organizations often don’t have the space for each high-performing team member to become a tech lead. Identify and be honest with your team about these situations and help them find a path to their success.

Discover Plato

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


Related stories

Building and Maintaining Company Culture: How to Scale Teams Accordingly

26 May

Elwin Lau, Director of Software at Jana, advocates the importance of maintaining culture within a company when scaling teams.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Scaling Team
Building A Team
Company Culture
Collaboration
Onboarding
Sharing The Vision
Elwin Lau

Elwin Lau

Director of Software at JANA Corporation

Building and Maintaining Company Culture: How to Scale Teams Accordingly

26 May

Elwin Lau, Director of Software at Jana, advocates the importance of maintaining culture within a company when scaling teams.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Scaling Team
Building A Team
Company Culture
Collaboration
Onboarding
Sharing The Vision
Elwin Lau

Elwin Lau

Director of Software at JANA Corporation

How to Maximize Employee Retention in Engineering Teams

25 May

Vimal Patel, Founder and CTO at iMORPHr, shares how he retained all of his employees since beginning his software development company in 2019.

Building A Team
Company Culture
Hiring
Retention
Psychological Safety
Vimal Patel

Vimal Patel

Director of Engineering at iMORPHr

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

Managing Culturally Diverse Remote Teams

11 May

Tom Hill, Engineering Manager at Globality, Inc., shares how he works with a culturally diverse team based within a thirteen-hour time gap.

Scaling Team
Handling Promotion
Remote
Onboarding
Hiring
Cultural Differences
Tom Hill

Tom Hill

Engineering Manager at Torii

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.