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How to navigate working with a new EM who is away for 1st month in another country?

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Anonymous User at Taro Communitya year ago

How to navigate working with new engineering manager who is away for 1st month?

From my first one-on-one with my new direct manager (M3), my new manager tell me that he will be away 1st month to travel to Asia for family visit. My new manager told me that he would only be avaliable during India timezone so he will not have any one-on-one with me due to time zone difference. So he asks me to work directly with the Director (M4) for this month. I have worked with this director for 8-12 months last year, who are my current Director (M4). Wanted to see if anyone has any thought on how to navigate through the next month while my direct manager is gone and won't be avaliable for me.

My direct manager reassures me that I will still have one-on-one with my skip on a weekly basis, and nothing should have changed since I worked with my Director (M4) before as I was his direct report as Senior Software Engineer.

Wanted to ask if there's anything that I should consider for this 1 month of transition with my new engineering manager?

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(2 comments)
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    Anonymous User [OP]
    Taro Community
    a year ago

    I also Google Searched and even Asked ChapGPT about this question. And here's some of the response I got from the Online Forum:

    • Communicate regularly with your director (M4) about your progress, responsibilities, and any concerns.
    • Set clear goals and expectations for the month, to ensure a productive and successful transition.
    • Seek feedback and ask for clarification on responsibilities and priorities from your director (M4).
    • Take advantage of the opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your director (M4).
    • Document all decisions and discussions, to ensure a smooth handoff to your manager (M3) when they return.
  • 4
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    Staff Eng @ Google, Ex-Meta SWE, Ex-Amazon SDM/SDE
    a year ago

    This being your new manager complicates it a little, but not much. People get sick, have parental or other leave, go on vacation and so on. Managers leave a team or company and their reports roll up a level until they are backfilled. It’s pretty normal, in my view, but understand it may be unusual for you.

    You won’t be able to establish immediate rapport with your new manager, but you CAN still be checking in with them.

    Create a document that is shared with your director and your manager. Write up what you are working on, their priorities, and any questions or concerns you have. During 1:1s with your director outline the conversation there, with any action items for any of the 3 of you, and tag them with @ to ensure they know and are notified, and can find it quickly later. Ask your manager to follow up on items they are tagged in, and ask if they need additional call outs in email or chat when they have new questions to answer or action items assigned.

    If your director gives you any new tasks or reprioritizes your work, make sure to clearly call this out, and tag your manager with INFO so they know it isn’t an action or question for them, but just keeping them explicitly informed if your work changes. If you want, you can keep a separate work log shared with both parties to share daily or biweekly notes of what tasks you’re working on and progress you’re making.

    You may want to (if you don’t now) have the team keep notes during standups, and they can be shared with your manager. You could volunteer (or see if you want to rotate through the team) to summarize these notes each week to give a snapshot.

    Beyond that it seems weird your manager won’t stay up a little later to connect with you during your morning at least once or twice, and strange you aren’t entertaining doing the same to connect during their working hours. At least just once or twice to chat.

    The habits you establish can still be useful after your manager returns. You’ll still have 1:1s with your director at some cadence, and you and your manager can keep better track of shared tasks and things.