Generally how much time one should expect from their immediate manager to spend on feedback to help improve and advance career wise?
I am in a case where there are no regular personal discussions except when ever the performance evaluation and salary/bonus compensation are delivered.
As a result the discussions at that point are always vague and I don't get anything of substance to work on. These results in 2 things: 1) I don't know what I need to do to advance 2) I am just announced the compensations but can't really negotiate back since most of the points the discussion are based on things that the manager considered as noticeable for her but never got my point of view on these (since we never have personal talks)
Basically it is like she just 'eavesdrops' from time to time on random conversations and makes a final assessment. Is that normal? I mean is that what happens in most companies?

closed as too broad by Jim G., gnat, Joe Strazzere, Dawny33, Chris E Feb 2 '16 at 15:04

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    It sounds like you may need to work on making yourself more visible to your manager, don't assume they are going to walk around and notice you. Start doing stuff that sticks out, otherwise you're just another cog in the wheel... – Ron Beyer Feb 1 '16 at 19:39
  • @RonBeyer: but should I be pursuing personal chats? Why won't a manager spend time with her team? – smith Feb 1 '16 at 20:01
  • Why the down votes? – smith Feb 1 '16 at 20:05
  • If by "personal" you mean one-on-one, yes. And use them to show your value, bring ideas not complaints, ask for more responsibility, etc. Perhaps your manager has too many tasks to spend a lot of time with any one person, or the manager is seeing who has initiative to step up without being pushed... Its only speculation in this case. – Ron Beyer Feb 1 '16 at 20:07
  • @RonBeyer: I cabin see your point but from has too many tasks to never talking is IMHO very different. Don't you think? – smith Feb 1 '16 at 20:09

The best managers talk to their people regularly and let them know when there are performance issues or what they need to do to get promoted. However 90% of managers are not in the top 10%. So you need to learn how to manage your career when your manager is not the best in the world.

First, if your manager does not talk frequently to you about performance, then ask questions. Ask what you need to be working on to get to the next level or how you can improve your chances of a bonus. Some bosses are cowards who won't tell you that you are not doing well without a pointed question. And different bosses want different hings. Some love it when their employees go to them for every decision and others prefer the more independent types. Some like people who make suggestions and others are insulted that you are disparaging the system that they set up. Some bosses only reward close friends. Get to understand what your particular boss is looking for.

If he won't be forthcoming about what you can do or change to move to the next level when you directly ask or is angry at you for asking, it is probably time to seek out a new boss who cares more about his employees. You can never get ahead with a boss who is determined to make sure you are not given an opportunity to shine. This is especially true if you are in a group traditionally discriminated against and only people in the white male category seem to get the rewards or reward-inducing assignments.

Next be aware that not all bosses have the same budget for or the same political capital to get those things for their employees. Many companies decide this through a process that involves all of the managers through the company and especially the senior managers. If your boss has not pull, he won't be able to successfully argue for your raise without some help from you. People who are known (positively of course)outside their own organization have an easier time getting rewards because the people giving them out know of them or know them personally.

So you need to be proactive about letting people know your accomplishments and you need to make contacts outside your own group. If you have a chance to be on special project that is cross-functional, take it. If you have a chance to be in the company newsletter, take it. If you have the chance to write up something for a company email, take it.

The other thing you need to do is to not make senior managers hear your name only in the context of something bad. You don't want to be the one who has to be hounded to do their timesheet and appears regularly on management reports of late submissions or the one who always seems to have escalated issues without any countervailing positives. They are not going to believe your boss about how wonderful you are if they have only heard negatives even seemingly minor ones.

Finally observe what your coworkers are doing especially the ones who did get promoted. Do they talk to the boss more frequently than you do? Do they sit on their hands when a task is completed and wait until the boss notices that they need more work or are they proactive about finding the next task? How do they act in meetings? Do they ask questions or suggest ideas?

  • "Finally observe what your coworkers are doing especially the ones who did get promoted." If you are talking about coworkers within the team, AFAIK there are no regular discussions with them either and none of them got a promotion. I don't know about salary/bonus of course... – smith Feb 1 '16 at 21:08

How often do YOU book a one-to-one with your manager to discuss YOUR progress? If YOU don't own the process and get feedback, good or bad, you can't expect to just go into a year end and be magically promoted. You also need to be proactive getting documented feedback from your peers/managers on projects.

Don't be railroaded by having the evidence you need to show your promotion material, and forward it as you get it throughout the year. If it's bad, fix it and get feedback to show you owned it. That's how you get on.

  • I am sorry but isn't the managers responsible for their teams? Is it reasonable to have 0 talks? I don't feel comfortable trying to start a meeting myself to be honest. Unless this is done everywhere. I am asking advice from more experienced people – smith Feb 1 '16 at 20:15
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    You need to own the process, you bosses won't say "smith didn't get feedback from their manager, we'll assume their great" – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 1 '16 at 20:16
  • My teams are told to own their process, arrange 1-2-1s and drive the agenda. I also need to do the same with my manager. – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 1 '16 at 20:17
  • Promotions/raises are usually decided against a pool for the division/company. Having nothing to show for why you should get somthing will just leave you with nothing, you need to be in a situation where they can't argue. – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 1 '16 at 20:21
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    and when you talk, go through the evidence you've accumulated, what you did well, or what didn't go so well and how you'll fix it (or how you DID fix it). also then ask how that fits with your targets for the year, snd what they think you still need to do. Next meet evidence how you are progressing what they said. By year end there should be no surprises. – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 1 '16 at 20:37

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