Finding a good manager is the most important posted on 12 April 2024

When I started managing people at Google, the main thing I remember from the class for new managers was that people leave their job first and foremost because of their manager – not because of compensation, peers or better opportunities outside.

The truth is that many aspects of your job are paired with having a good manager:

  • A good manager will argue for your compensation/promotion
  • A good manager will find ways to expand your scope and to stimulate your growth by pushing you (at the right pace) out of your comfort zone
  • A good manager will attract and retain talent – your peers

I personally have/had amazing managers at Google/Databricks (e.g. Karthik Lakshminarayanan, Mainak Sen – who both happen to be at Databricks if you’re looking for a job). They are the reason for my past/current growth – my experience with them is vastly different than every time I was temporarily reporting to VPs.

From my personal experience, here are the qualities I’ve found in good managers:

  • Being Honest and transparent – the best feedback is straightforward and fresh feedback
  • Having empathy and being supportive – little things can go a long way, e.g. letting me work slightly off hours when I became a dad, or supporting my move to Amsterdam
  • Having the skills you are lacking (and vice versa) and adjusting to yours – you form a pair with your manager, and if you can both adjust to maximize your combined impact, it will do marvels
  • Having both a good vision and people skills – this is what allows you to work on stable/important projects. It is also in my opinion the best way to retain talents

What skills/qualities are you looking for in a manager when considering changing jobs?

Illustration: A happy and relax software engineer because that’s what your job looks like when you have a good manager

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