I work as a software developer and I have a flexible schedule where I work a few days in the office and a few at home remotely.

My project manager is relatively new as a project manager (he was an IT person before and now he's suddenly operations manager? I'm not sure how that happened!).

Anyways, he seems to be having trouble managing me remotely. We have a mandatory meeting for all engineers every morning even though we all work on different projects and aren't much of a team. However, there are over a dozen engineers with different projects and he is not a software developer himself. He seems to have bitten off more than he can chew and isn't sure what's going on most of the time. I feel uncomfortable being managed by him and unclear about his expectations.

How do I deal with this situation and meet his expectations without coming across as feeling threatened?

closed as off-topic by Jim G., gnat, Jan Doggen, scaaahu, Chris E Jan 12 '15 at 11:41

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  • 1
    If you manager is being unclear to you, then it doesn't matter whether he's being unclear to you remotely or face to face - He's unclear to you regardless. It's your responsibility to make things clear by extracting the requisite clarifications from him. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 11 '15 at 5:28
  • Frankly it is up to you to adjust to his style not vice versa. It sounds as if you resent his promotion and are putting a negative spin on everything he does as a result. Well get over that too, it is a career limiting move. It is not for you to judge if he is in over his head. In the meantime, just follow @WesleyLong 's advice and talk to him about what you can do to work with him effectively. Managing remote peopel is not simple. He may need you to provide more than you are used to providding as well as he is not yet sure of your competence. You need to cooperate and provide what he needs. – HLGEM Jan 13 '15 at 17:08

Talk with him.

So what if this is his first jaunt as a project manager? We all start sometime. I look back at my first months as a manager (back when herds of bison roamed the prairie, and the horseless carriage was a "disruptive technology"), and shake my head at some of the dumb things I did back then.

If he's having trouble managing you, then it's a communications issue somewhere. When you're working remotely, a couple of emails every day about your status will help him feel up-to-speed with your progress. He should be having at least one 10-minute one-on-one with you every week (hopefully twice a week). Use that time to ask him how you can help him feel more connected with your projects. Give him ETA's on your milestones. Give him your resource requirements, no matter how droll, with enough time to let him "manage" acquiring them.

As to his expectations: Ask him this directly. "What should I be doing to help you understand and manage my project? What do you need from me?" Then make sure you do those things. If he's not able to make it clear, help him. "Would you like a resource requirement worksheet that I update every week?" "Would you like a list of project deliverables and milestones that I can update for you?"

If he's going to be a manager, he should be able to use this to help you both find a working style between you that makes the system work.

If he's not management material, it won't matter what you do.

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