Episode 314: "That guy" and how to skip level

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In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. Hi! Love the podcast and have been listening for a while.

    I have a question about dealing with “that guy” on the team. I’ve been through several teams throughout my career, and every once in a while, I get on a team where there’s always a “that guy” that everyone seems to tiptoe around. They’re the type that would yell and scream to have everything go their way, and they’re typically very blunt to anyone, saying things in a really hurtful way. These people can either be technical or on the product side, but I’ve found it really difficult to work with people like this.

    After working long enough with “that guy”, it seems the common thing people do is just to say “Oh, that’s just so-and-so.” or “That’s just the way so-and-so is.”, which I feel is the only thing you can do, but that just doesn’t sit right with me because it’s incredibly toxic.

    I don’t think the solution is to just fire people like this, but it boggles my mind how so many teams just let this kind of behavior happen because the manager can’t or won’t take any action other than give them a talking to, which seems to just allow the behavior to continue because there are no consequences.

    Have you ever dealt with situations like this? And if so, how do you normally handle it without just ignoring it?

  2. I am a senior FE engineer and I have recurring 1-1s with my skip level manager (manager of my manager) who is the Head of Engineering at the unicorn I work for. I usually ask what is top of mind for them (usually hiring), give feedback about my manager, and get additional feedback on bigger picture things I’m working on (e.g. we’re currently working on metrics to measure impact and value of our design system and other internal tooling). What else would you ask them to make the best use of this time?

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