Career Advice Tuesday – “When The Players Earn More Than The Coach”

June 23, 2009

Before getting into this week’s Career Advice Tuesday, we would like everyone to know that we will always respect the confidentiality of the person asking the questions. We want to make sure that everyone understands that these will remain anonymous. We try to come up with some clever nick-names to reflect the content of the question and potentially the answer. Keep the questions coming.

Dear Infosecleaders:

I am nearing my annual compensation review and I have recently found out that both members of the engineering team that I manage, are earning about 10% more than me. I am trying to think of a way to address this with my mangement during my review. I always thought that being a manager would equate to more pay. What am I missing?

Signed -”Miss-Conception”

Dear “Miss-Conception”

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your compensation and value as a manager should be evaluated completely independent of your engineering team. Engineering and management are two different skills, and should be ultimately judged by different criteria.

It is true that in most organization’s managers are paid more than the staff, but that is not an absolute. Employers will place different values on different skill sets depending on their importance and availability. My guess would be that you work in a smaller company and your engineers are highly talented. It is most likely that their engineering skills may be more critical to the company’s success than the skills that you bring as a manager. (This may not be your opinion, but the opinion of executive leadership.)

In our opinion, it would be a big career mistake to compare yourself to the engineers on your staff within a review.

You are a manager and a leader – now is the time to act like one!

A week prior to the review, I would submit a document that clearly communicates your most significant accomplishments as a manager of your team over the past year, to the person responsible for your review. I would try to demonstrate to your superiors that the team would not be as productive without your guidance and direction. I would equate these personal victories to larger business successes, that had a measurable impact on the company.

Hopefully, your communication skills are effective and your management will recognize your value and contributions to the company. If you are able to provide solid documentation of your performance, there is a good chance that they will give greater thought to how you are compensated. This should result in a better than expected increase and more recognition of your success as a manager.

Many times we overlook the impact of the written word and the strength of the documenting of performance and accomplishments. When you “put it down on paper”, you always provide a more indelible impression.

Let us know how it turns out.

Lee and Mike

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Career Advice Tuesday, Compensation 

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