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And in this field that especially includes "managing your manager".

Managers get paid to have people skills. Programmers get paid to code. If you really are some genius, you may be able to write good code and also be more talented than your manager at people stuff such that you can manage your own boss with some seriously tricksy Machiavellian maneuvering. But, saying that is necessary is suggesting that all managers are incompetent dolts who cannot possibly do their job and, also, should not be expected to.

How would you feel about someone saying "Managers should be better at running the company than the CEO and it is their responsibility to somehow steer the ship to success in spite of an incompetent, alcoholic CEO routinely making stupid decisions"?




I'm really surprised how much pushback my comment about "managing your manager" has gotten here. I'll respond to your post in particular.

If you really are some genius, you may be able to write good code and also be more talented than your manager at people stuff such that you can manage your own boss with some seriously tricksy Machiavellian maneuvering.

Well, no, you aren't required to have better soft skills, or be decietful/conniving, to manage up as they say. Also as an aside, writing "good" code has very little to do with being a working programmer, sadly.

In my world view, managing up is better described as "standing up for oneself". Does your boss know the trouble you've had with the build, test, and deployment environments? Does your boss know that Senior Person X doesn't respond to emails or other queries in a timely manner? Does your boss remember they said to do task X before assigning you task Y? Does your boss intend for you to stay late every night for a week to accomplish X and Y or are you just assuming that? Do they remember you stayed late 3 nights last week? Managers are people, they forget things. I am advocating for keeping your activities and challenges front of mind for them. One must obviously must be engaged and delivering, for any of this to be effective.


I don't disagree with you that this is a good thing to do --if you know how to do it. I think you are getting pushback because your framing implicitly suggests it is Rick's fault he got fired and it does so in a way that implicitly absolves management of their role in this debacle.

Maybe your intent is more "Oh, gosh, if you find yourself in Rick's shoes, don't just let bad management crap on you like this and then railroad and scapegoat you." But that isn't what it sounds like you are saying.


From the company's perspective, though, at the end of the day the buck stops with the manager.

Yes it's important to manage up, but that's for your own benefit more than anyone else's. From the company's perspective, they pay the manager to handle you, not the other way around.


When you see a problem at your company, speak up. When you have a problem with your manager, try to help them. Things go much better if you take an active approach to your work problems than a passive one.




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