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How can you demonstrate your expertise and value to others without stepping on toes or appearing overly ambitious?

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Staff Software Engineer [E6] at Metaa month ago

How to avoid working closely with others on projects that does not allow you to demonstrate your skills in a team context, emphasizing collaboration over competition?

What are the common mistakes to overstep and to look like you are showing off?

How to highlight more of collaborative success that often speaks louder than individual achievement?

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(3 comments)
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    This one is tricky as Meta is so competitive and PSC-driven with so many engineers fishing for promotion. My advice is 2-fold:

    1. Make it incredibly clear how work is split - I'm not just talking about the coding work, but the overall "plumbing" behind a project, which is where a lot of E5/E6/E7 credit comes from. Who is responsible for running the weekly update meeting? Who is responsible for starting the core system design doc and maintaining it? Who is responsible for interfacing with product and design? Communicate clearly with other tech leads on the team to figure out exactly who is doing what, and get as much in writing as possible. If people are stepping on each other's toes, bring in the manager if things get really bad.
    2. Build trust - A lot of this really is perception, and it's quite simple. If someone really likes working with you and thinks you are a good person, they are more likely to think "It's so nice that you're helping me" instead of "It's so evil that you're trying to steal my scope" when you lend them support.

    On top of these 2 very tactical pieces of advice that's applicable at all levels, a special piece of advice I have for anybody at E6 or the higher end of E5 is that you should just be creating as much of your own scope as possible. This way you can clearly lay claim to the project as you came up with it and are the domain expert. It's near impossible for people to steal your thunder then.

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    Staff Software Engineer [E6] [OP]
    Meta
    a month ago

    Great answers, thanks! What are the common mistakes here?

    1. You mentioned it is important to communicate who is doing what, but what if there are too many good people who are willing to work extra mile and take all the credit in the same time?
    2. What is own scope in your opinion, does it mean that it is not approved by the management chain yet? I am thinking that if I start working too much on my own it is a risk to be lonely wolf in this case. But if I share too much it is easier to lose the credit for ideas or even the hard work that was put in them if managers could give it to some other high performers on the team.
    3. How to highlight more collaboration, where is this balance and common mistakes in the cutting throat and layoff environment?
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      Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
      24 days ago

      You mentioned it is important to communicate who is doing what, but what if there are too many good people who are willing to work extra mile and take all the credit in the same time?

      If ownership lines aren't clear, go to your manager. This kind of stuff is literally their job to debug.

      What is own scope in your opinion, does it mean that it is not approved by the management chain yet? I am thinking that if I start working too much on my own it is a risk to be lonely wolf in this case. But if I share too much it is easier to lose the credit for ideas or even the hard work that was put in them if managers could give it to some other high performers on the team.

      "Own scope" is referring to a project idea that you came up with yourself. As an E6, you shouldn't worry about the lone wolf angle as if you come up with a great project idea, the standard E6 thing to do is to break it up into chunks and delegate it out. You keep the most complex parts for yourself and delegate the simpler pieces to E5s, E4s, and E3s. That's what being a tech lead means and most E6s are tech leads.

      I also think you're viewing the world as too 0-sum. If you see the world as everyone being out to get you, it will be hard to get anything done due to paranoia. Sharing isn't "losing credit", it is scaling yourself.

      How to highlight more collaboration, where is this balance and common mistakes in the cutting throat and layoff environment?

      Follow The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. People will want to collaborate with you if you collaborate with them. Add value to them and they'll add value to you. That's what I've done literally my entire career and it's massively paid off.

      Lastly, you have a huge unfair advantage as you are E6. E6s define the culture of their teams. You should set the example. If you come in with a very guarded, paranoid, 0-sum "I must survive above all of you and get the max credit" mentality, your entire team will do the same (and it won't be fun).

Meta Platforms, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California. The company owns 3 of top 4 social networks in the world: Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. More than 3.5 billion people use at least one of the company's core products every month.
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