3 things to expect from your manager. .

I recently chatted to a few students who will be finishing University in the next few months, unfortunately, we can't hire them all but I wanted to share 3 things I think they should expect from their managers! Lots of organisations have different styles but wherever you end up from graduate to CEO. I think this is pretty universal

4 minute read

One to one meetings

1:1 meetings are important because they enable a safe space to create a human connection between you and your manager, a place to get feedback and guidance. It's essential to be professional at work but sometimes life gets in the way (death in the family, need to move house etc) building a good relationship with your manager will mean they are far more able to help support you through these situations should they occur. A good manager is going to notice changes in your mood and energy levels and will care enough to ask you about it, they will check your preferences for things like being publicly recognised and will check in to make sure you are ok.

A good one to one meeting should happen predictably, the frequency might change but they should feel regular (if they don't - ask what the company recommends), and they should also have a recognisable agenda with space to discuss your topics. It's worth sharing the responsibility for ensuring these happen, (agree on the date of the next one before you leave), prepare for the time in advance and bring a list of topics to talk about; oh and take notes you will need these later for annual reviews. I like to think a healthy 1:1 should always have some actions for you both for which you hold each other accountable thought the year.

Feedback and Guidance

Giving and receiving feedback can feel challenging, especially early on in your career. You’re going to make mistakes, a good manager will let you know quickly that you have and allow you the space to learn, they will help lead you to understand a better outcome (without any passive aggression). Feedback might still feel awkward so it's important to breathe between emotions and receive the feedback graciously even when you don't agree with it, giving the signal that you aren’t open to feedback might make others think twice about giving it again in the future.

Don't forget, you will also find yourself getting positive feedback and recognition for the great work you’re going to do!

If you work in a software engineering team It's not just about coding performance, in engineering, we often get feedback on our code from multiple sources through code reviews, pairing etc but we are also at times required to run presentations, explain technical concepts and work with other teams. Your manager can help you with the feedback here too.

Training and Career growth

I used to believe that your career is solely your own responsibility and not the responsibility of your employer, it's possible of course my opinion might have been shaped by years of ‘the company message’, but time has helped me come to realise it's not wholly true.

Your career is your responsibility but it's also the result of nurture. When you take a job with an employer you are planting the seed of your career in their greenhouse for the duration of your time there. Plants grow at different rates in different greenhouses, dirty windows, inconsistent temperatures and no ventilation leads to stunted growth. It's a team job between you and your line manager to work out what conditions will get the best results for you. Try to work out what direction you want to go, things that interest you are a good start, call out opportunities to help in areas you enjoy and to help your manager understand your learning style so that you can work out how you will grow best together. Your manager will help you find conferences, books, courses and other opportunities to develop and they can also help to arrange the time you will need to attend and practice, but they can't always work out what you are enjoying.

Wherever you choose to work the combination of manager and company can have a significant impact on your health, lifestyle and career it pays to do research and have some great questions ready for your interview.