My team currently consists of 2 Pods, for one of which I'm a Pod Leader for and a good friend of mine being a Pod lead for other. I've been helping the other lead consistently in making better design decisions and providing right set of resources to help aid in making right decisions. I also consistently review their documents pre-design reviews, and have contributed to close to 50% of design decisions taken. However, I have lately been feeling this consistent help from my end would end up affecting my promo path (Due to team needing only 1 SE3 at the moment), I do not get any open credits for this except random one off instances where my friend mentions that he discussed xyz with me.
My current scenario is that If i stop helping abruptly it might seem odd, and can affect overall team's health, but at same time i feel a bit demotivated with the lack of credit as this takes decent amount of bandwidth (5-6Hrs a week).
How can I best navigate this situation where I can help as well as get credited for the help I provide?
It seems like you're in a tight spot, especially since the other person involved is a good friend. It's often easier to be straightforward and clear-cut with colleagues we have only professional ties with, rather than those we share a personal connection with.
Here's what I would suggest, depending on how comfortable you are with your friend: consider talking to them about it. For example, say something like, "I've noticed I've been spending a significant amount of time assisting with tasks x, y, and z, which detracts from my own work. I'm not sure if you're acknowledging my contribution, sharing credit, or informing my manager about my help."
If this conversation feels too awkward, I understand. Instead of always being available to assist them, offer help only when it suits your schedule. For instance, if you have 5 hours free, tell them you're only available for 2. This way, even if you end up helping for the full 5 hours, you've set boundaries to protect your time. If you do extend your help, make it clear that you'll need to compensate for this extra time later, and may not be available as a result. Encourage them to use common communication channels like Slack for assistance, where either you or someone else can pitch in when available.
Maintain this approach for a month. Your friend should start to appreciate your time more, and you'll better protect your own schedule. Regarding getting credit for your work, bring this up with your manager, explaining that you've been contributing but will now be managing your time more efficiently. This shows that you understand the importance of prioritizing and managing your workload. No need to hide your contributions.
It's unfortunate that your friend has put you in this position. Remember, it's important to safeguard your time and your peace of mind.
Be public about praising the person you're helping. If you talk about how "Sally and I have been working together and she did a great job in defining the requirements and landing our project early", you will get naturally get credit as well.
(Ethan Evans talks about this ingenious strategy in his interview here: Lessons From The Top: Managing And Growing 800 People)