Episode 304: My subordinate is smarter than me and confused in meetings
In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:
I just hired someone as my direct report who is very, very smart, and has a great background. Ivy undergrad CS, Ivy grad school, and big tech experience. This is great!
Except… he’s definitely much smarter than me. I slacked my way through a liberal arts degree, and have worked only for small startups my whole career. I’ve gotten by, but I’m no 10xer.
How do I be a good manager for him considering all this? I want to help him grow in his career and be a good resource for him, but I don’t know what I have to offer. Should I just give him my key to the nonexistent middle manager cafeteria, and say, “I work for you now?
Hi, I have a question about how to handle being confused in certain team meetings.
It happens when the meeting is about discussing a certain problem to solve and most participants are much more up to speed with the issue being discussed. What ends up happening is that they discuss things fast, while I am hardly following and wondering if I should even be there. That is painful to me, because I’m aware that I’m not contributing much, while my time there is wasted and spent half trying to follow and half stressing out thinking what I should do.
I guess that in order to contribute I would need to ask to be brought up to speed. Which I find a bit tricky because I’ll be asking myself: is it because I missed something? Or is it because of something I actually couldn’t possibly know? And secondly, should I have it clarified, which would disrupt the discussion and draw it out for others (especially if I need to go back to something that the group already went over)?
Or should I address this completely differently, for example by requesting meeting agendas and preparing questions before the meetings? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to tackle this, because it’s a pain every time it happens.