What should you do if your Manager is not helping you grow and you see little growth opportunities? Should you stay at the job and try to learn as much as possible or should you definitely leave the company and look for a new opportunity?
First thing to do is to check with your manager how they think about your growth. They may be thinking that they are helping you, and it is just your perspectives that are misaligned. Ask them about their definition next level of growth for you (see answer above about growing skills for details), and then ask them how are they planning to invest in your growth - have they considered additional opportunities, challenges, projects to give to you to help you grow?
If the result of the above effort does not result in a clear growth plan with a commitment from a manager to invest in you (it's their job!), consider switching.
If that is you now, we are hiring a lot of PMs at Atlassian, and work diligently on building growth plans for all of our PMs :-)
What do you value in your life right now?
- If it is career growth and you are not getting that, needless to say, it is time for a change.
- If you want to maximize your impact and you have the tools to deliver your best work/create the most impact, stay.
- If you are optimizing for pay and external opportunities won't give a decent raise, stay.
- If you are enjoying a work-life balance and don't want to go through the ramp-up of a new company, stay.
- What else?
Most likely you'd want at least some if not all of the above. In the end, you have to follow your gut sense and get as many thoughts as possible from trusted mentors. A few things that might help:
- Always be open to new opportunities. Something might just click.
- Figure out a way to communicate upward and influence change. Managers with a growth mindset would be looking to learn how to better help their teams and retain the star performers!
There is "not helping", or even not knowing that help is needed, and then there is actively blocking. I'm going to assume it is not the latter - actively blocking. There are remedies for that too, though much depends on the situation, the players, your determination, and some luck.
Otherwise, step 1 would be to have a conversation with your manager dedicated to how you would like to get help. I good starting point is documenting an IDP (individual development plan). Think through what and how you aspire to be, then self-assess what is needed to get there and what stands in your way - experience, training, project exposure, technical knowledge? Or soft skills? Or something else? Pencil in how and who can help remove the obstacles and open doors.
Step 2 is to go through the IDP with your manager. Check if they agree that the steps you outline lead to where you have articulated you want to be and how much they can help. Be prepared for the conversation to go in less comfortable territory around execution, soft skills, reputation, communication, and influence.
Step 3 The IDP becomes a collaborative roadmap for you and your manager on how to get you from A to B in terms of growth with action items. Don't forget to add and agree clear metrics on how any item in the IDP will be deemed done.
When facing a situation where your manager isn't supporting your growth and opportunities seem limited, it essentially boils down to two choices: 1. Change your environment within the company, or 2. Change your environment by moving to a new company. If you feel stagnant, first attempt to seek new challenges, additional responsibilities, or mentorship internally. If these efforts don’t yield results, it might be time to consider external opportunities. There's no set timeframe for making this decision; it's more about evaluating whether you're still learning and growing. If you're not, and internal changes don't help, it may be time to explore new horizons. Trust your instincts – if you feel you're not progressing, taking proactive steps is key, whether it's internally or elsewhere.
As always, it depends. First, you should think of yourself as the CEO of your own career. Managers and job ladders can help, but the responsibility is on you to make it happen. If your manager isn't helping you help yourself, ask yourself why. Have you been transparent about your career ambitions? Have you identified the gaps you need and skills you want to develop to go to the next level? Does your manager even know that they aren't helping you grow?
Start by answering thosee questions. If you've exhausted all of the resources your manager and company are able to offer, then yes, I would go elsewhere. But you owe it to yourself to make sure you give them the opportunity to help you first.