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I have been in this company for more than 5 years now. I started as an associate when the initial team was being built from ground up. When I joined, I was the second member and in all we had a team of three.

Fast forward to now, we have three products and I have been promoted as a lead developer and am involved in day to day meetings with product owners with assistance of an analyst for one of the product.

We had several managers come in and go and the most recent one was hired almost one and half years ago.

Problems which I see:

Manager:

He was hired by the higher ups as a Technical Manager and he was supposed to mentor us and guide us. In all the time he's been here I never had any one on one to talk about my career progression.

  • He does not have sound knowledge of the platform even though he's supposed to be the technical manager. Of the three products in our company he has been made accountable for one and he is only involved in that product.
  • He has zero understanding about the product in which I am working. We do have another manager from another department whom I do not report into who oversees the remaining two products and it feels like I am in more touch with this manager. This does not help me with appraisals nor my career progression as I do not receive any feedback.
  • Some of the talented members in his product team have already quit.
  • I do understand that working remote during these times are difficult, but he has not made any efforts in building relationships with the team nor the product owners.

Associate:

Of the three member team initially, one has already left for better opportunity and the other has been in the same role.

I have been asked to mentor and groom this associate to take over my role so that I can move into a Sr Lead Title. Due to the frequent changes in managers the performance of this associate (say John) has been overlooked. John has more experience than me (+5 years) and struggles with daily tasks. For ex:

  • Poor coding skills.
  • Cannot translate developer discussions to programs, (what I mean by this is say we are in pickle and we are discussing possible solutions and arrive at Solution A verbally, John finds it hard to write code based on verbal discussions and I often end up sharing snippets of code.)
  • When left alone, often does not communicate about tasks and when the time arrives 9 out of 10 times it will be known that its not complete and will take more time.
  • Is often not aware of Sprint deliverables and due dates.
  • Does not participate in any of the meetings actively and does not add value to any discussions.
  • In all the time here in this company, there has not been a single contribution without assistance.

I do have a frequent connect with a Sr Manager but bringing up the role of the said Manager is frowned upon and was looked down as not a team player. Attitude of higher ups is to listen to the manager without question.

Apart from the reporting manager I do feel this is still a good place for me, I do not want to quit, but how can I bring these issues forward without sounding like a non-team player ?

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  • @JoeStrazzere So what's my way forward here then ? quit ? Jul 18 at 17:01
  • What's the role of technical manager? Is it simply to line manage technical people or to be and expert on the technology. Is it like a product manager? So to be a lead on business aspects of product. Jul 24 at 5:52
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Well, you're lead developer, so you kinda have to step up to the plate and be willing to discuss the associate with your manager. That is your job.

I would certainly refrain from bad-mouthing your manager to senior management, unless there is something very amiss. It's not your place.

Just because you manager is maybe not technically aware of what's going on, doesn't mean they are not aware of results, which can be good or bad for you.

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  • This doesn't pass the smell test. It sounds like the associate is totally unsuited to doing the job of a programmer and he's been passed around by supervisors. None of them wanted to deal with his bad performance. So they gave him to the naive person who is new to management. Not only that they said his promotion is conditional on getting this guys up to speed (that's not how promotions work). Saying effectively just suck it up and be professional when there are signs others around him haven't been professional is just bad advice. Jul 24 at 7:57
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I think you are in a bad position and your best option is likely to switch jobs even though you said this is not something you prefer.

It doesn't sound like your company takes underperformance seriously. You've mentioned two examples of people who are clearly underperforming yet nothing is done about them. I strongly suspect the associate has been dumped on you and his underperformance made into "your problem". You've raised concerns about your manager and they've been dismissed. It doesn't sound like you will get further with this if you raised concerns repeatedly.

You sound like you are at the stage of your career where you are transitioning from a senior doer to a junior manager. You want to be in a supportive environment with good examples of more senior managers to emulate. Not thrown into the deep end dealing with underperformance which is one of the hardest things for any manager to deal with.

Plus from your question, its not obvious that you are going to be given the levers to make your role a success. The role of a manager is not to magically transform the people beneath them into great performers. The main role is to hire, motivated and retain good people. Providing strategic direction and technical guidance are secondary to this. If you don't have the power to fire and replace the associate then you are simply being put into an impossible situation.

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