I don't enjoy long-winded, pointless meetings - but if you're organisation has so many of them, you'll get pulled into them anyway once you're senior enough.
This is a pretty nice approach. Congrats.
Often people are chosen in senior positions because the sell themselves. They are articulate and have "executive presence" and they seem to know what to do, but often they don't. I wish more of them were chosen because they listen, and they knowledgable and thoughtful.
I think the "secret" is simply to make sure people know what they're suppoesd to be doing, that they want to do it, and that they feel they have everything they need to do it. That won't necessarily always work, because not all under-performance is work-related - if you've just had a baby, going through divorce or bereavement, I'd expect you to be 'under-performing' and wouldn't try to fix it.
If you do want a chat, I'm available on email (it's on my profile page).
- Do you have autonomy in your job ? You need to be able to do your job without having to ask for permission every five minutes. You should also have some freedom on how to do it.
- Do you feel you are getting better at your job ? Every day you need to have the feeling that you are becoming better at it. Is your job hard enough but not too hard. Too many unknowns may cause frustration. Too few unknowns make the jobs too easy and boring.
- Purpose - Do you feel that everyday you are making a difference? You need to feel that you are making somebody's life better.
to be fair tho, i don't expect most tech jobs to actually have a strong sense of purpose. it's that old SV trope of "we're making the world a better place through minimal message-oriented transport layers".
#2 is a great question. its kind of like looking at the job through game design. its true i dont feel like i'm becoming better and i dont see a clear path to becoming better. I will probably actually use this line of thinking to have a convo with my manager.
If I could do it all over again, I'd completely omit the technical from my decision making. Odds are that you're probably doing just fine and suffering from something like imposter syndrome. In my case, my billable hours had started to fall, which is the one thing that can't slide for long. I was having doubts about my project and my contribution to it, for personal reasons stemming from my financial troubles after the housing bubble popped. I should have asked for a sabbatical.
Maybe you can step back for a moment and imagine that if the technical needs of the project are being met, what is your vision for the future of the company and the prospects of the other employees? Have some of them been snatched up by Fortune 500 companies? Will some of them benefit greatly by having your company on their resume? Have some of them been able to grow as individuals, perhaps continuing their education or even finding happiness and love? If you feel a resonance with those types of things, you might be surprised to find an interest for it reflected in your own bosses. Maybe they are focused on making payroll and haven't had the support they need to consider those other things. If you have an HR person, maybe you can sway the conversation in those directions. If not, maybe you can talk management stuff long enough that people start to want you in that role. Please don't underestimate vision like I did.
i have rarely had a helpful convo with an HR person though. always hear the warnings at the back of my head that they're not on my side, they're on the company's side.
I definitely feel the lack of management training.
Being a nerd for decades doesn't mean you know how to lead a bunch of nerds ;)
Moving from tangible daily outputs (code etc), to longer term feedback loops can be just as rewarding, you just need to step back slightly.
Empowering others to achieve their potential, watching them grow. Watching great products evolve. Understanding and directly influencing tech decisions. Being able to look further than the next sprint. Interfacing with external parties, seeing how they approach similar / new problem spaces.
IMO, this never gets boring.
Keep a log throughout the day. It helps.
Failing that, use email, issue trackers, repos, purchase orders, inventory logs or other major communications channels / process interfaces to retroactively summarize progress. I currently do this weekly, and use it as input to reporting and planning processes.
A more senior leader I very much respect - when I was about to make the transition - put it this way: "I was doing great as an engineer but had so much I needed to get done, so they helped me put together a team of 4, which was great, because I could accomplish almost twice as much; then it was 30 people and we had a whole product I was proud of. With 200 I know I'm changing the industry..."
You have to learn different skills - how to motivate people, how to see potential conflicts and roadblocks and use them constructively - but the technical skills you bring to the table can make your impact much stronger; and I think I get to learn new ones at a much faster pace at a compromise that I can't go as deep in more than a few spots compared to full-time engineering.