I am a tech lead for my team of 5 engineers. I am also a senior eng intending to climb up to staff level.
My manager is not very vocal or supportive and seems reluctant in terms of helping out a plan for myself. I have been working hard though. How can I work with my manager to create a promotion plan for myself and get buy-in from them?
I am not sure if I should move up the eng ladder or transition to management, but are there any guidelines for creating a written promotion plan and manage up so to speak?
First off, please do make sure your manager is aware that you are motivated to grow to the next level. At senior levels, this is not a given, so explicitly stating your intent is sometimes necessary to get your manager motivated as well :)
Next, assuming there is some well known expectation of what the staff level looks like in your company, collaborate with your manager to identify what gaps you have (do some introspection first instead of having your manager do all that work).
Document these, along with some proposals for how to address them. This should be a working doc that you and and your manager review at some regular cadence.
My manager is not very vocal or supportive and seems reluctant in terms of helping out a plan for myself.
None of us can comment on the specifics here, of course, but I'd debug this a little bit with them. Another thing to note is that in some companies, staff level promos are not just about individual readiness, but also whether there is actually sustained scope in the team's charter, for that level.
I have been working hard though.
Unfortunately for all of us who've been there, effort is not always positively correlated with outcomes, and it is ultimately the outcomes that matter. So please do make sure you are leveraging your strengths and are working toward the right outcomes.
I am not sure if I should move up the engg ladder or transition to management but are there any guidelines for creating a written promotion plan and manage up so to speak
I assume there is some existing reference material on Taro about the differences between IC and manager roles, and how to think about a transition, so please look for them. But the crux of the matter is that transitioning to management does not obviate the need to "manage up", so learning these skills will help you in either case.
It seems like there is a misalignment between you and your manager in terms of career trajectory. I heavily recommend this discussion from a Microsoft engineer about how you can bridge that gap and establish a growth plan together: "How to drive my promotion discussion with my new manager?"
Assuming good intent here, I think the manager may feel this way as Staff Engineers are almost always incredibly self-directing. Pushing your manager for a path to staff may ironically signal to them that you're not ready to be Staff yet. Here are some good resources on what usually it takes to be Staff:
In terms of deciding between IC and EM tracks, I recommend these:
Best of luck!