I’ve been working with my manager for a while now and recently it’s become a lot more of him asking me for guidance rather than the other way around. I want to ask my dev lead for me to not have to work so closely with my manager, but I’m not sure how to bring this up.

My manager is a bit more experienced than me, but we are both still considered ‘junior’ devs. I get the feeling he was shoehorned into becoming a manager while not necessarily wanting a managerial role.

The dev lead would be more than willing to help out, but I don’t want to bring this up and ‘bad mouth’ my manager.

Any advice?

  • 2
    Is there a reason you don't want to contribute to the team's success by providing guidance to your manager/fellow dev? Is your intent to dump that off on the dev lead or what?
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 19, 2020 at 22:02
  • Your question is a bit confusing, it's clear what you want, but a bit more background info would help
    – user120435
    Aug 19, 2020 at 22:02
  • I don't mind helping out & providing guidance. But I feel like I'm not learning as much as I can if I was working closely with a more experienced dev.
    – Panda
    Aug 19, 2020 at 22:04
  • @boo : it's a completely different question, then. Your question is no more "how do I stop helping my manager?" (which is the question others did asnwer), but "how do I get assigned to work with someone that will teach me things" (which should attract completely different answers)
    – gazzz0x2z
    Aug 20, 2020 at 9:51

2 Answers 2

  1. Your time is not more important than the lead's time so it would be silly for you to ask them to answer questions.
  2. Being a team player means we answer questions sometimes.
  3. It should be seen as a compliment when someone asks you for help since they trust you to give the right answer.
  4. If you feel the questions are too simple and frequent then politely point the asker to the appropriate reference material. It's quite possible that they forgot about the reference or never knew about it.
  5. If you complain about helping your manager you're basically saying, "please fire me or put bad things in my review". Sort of like counting illegal pills on a police car hood. 95% chance the lead will tell your manager everything you say.
  • Hmm I feel like my questions coming off different from what I intended to ask. I understand the point of being a team player and helping others out. I’m completely fine with that and happy to do so. However, maybe it’s just my expectations of a manager is different than what I’m getting. In the past, my previous managers were always able to teach me things, whether it’s from a code review, design discussion, random interactions, etc.
    – Panda
    Aug 20, 2020 at 1:14
  • But with my current manager, it doesn’t feel that way, and rather feels like I’m the one guiding him & I do not feel as if he is teaching me much. I’d be completely fine this if he was any other developer on the team. I only take issue with the fact that he’s my manager, and I sort of expect my manager to be a mentor of sort, I guess? And he’s not filling that role. Am I wrong to have these expectations?
    – Panda
    Aug 20, 2020 at 1:14
  • 5
    @boo there is no set rule that a manager has to teach you things. Actually I don't recall ever having a manager who taught me technical stuff. And yes it happens that a manager may ask you for help/advice on something. It's not as cut and dry as to why like you seem to think either. They could know 1 million things you don't know and have many patents and yet they need your help on something you know better. It's always a possibility.
    – HenryM
    Aug 20, 2020 at 3:31

We can't all work with someone more experienced and knowledgeable. At some point you stop being the student and work with peers, or starting being the person who others learn from.

Being a manager isn't about technical skills, it's about being organised and keeping an overview of the work that is being done. It's great that your company isn't dragging the best technical person down with managerial stuff. The best managers are like jockeys, they can't run as fast as the horse, but they point it in the right direction, make sure it doesn't get blocked, and keep encouraging it.

That said, it sounds as if there are others who can teach you technical stuff, so ask for their help occasionally. Talk a technical problem through with your manager (who is acting more as a peer programmer at this point) then, if the best solution isn't obvious, go to the dev lead with two or three options and ask if you've missed anything. Occasionally ask the dev lead for a review of your work.

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