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Can Programmers REALLY Trust Their Manager?

Trusting people is getting tougher than ever these days, and nobody seems to have a harder time than programmers and managers.

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Trusting people is getting tougher than ever these days, and nobody seems to have a harder time than programmers and managers. In the tech industry, where rapid changes and high stakes are common, establishing trust can be particularly challenging. Understanding the dynamics of this relationship is key to fostering a healthy work environment.

Why Programmers Often Distrust Managers

  • Lack of Technical Expertise: Programmers may distrust managers who can’t demonstrate technical skills, leading to doubts about their advice and decisions.
  • Command and Control Structures: In hierarchical organizations, limited visibility and filtered information can breed distrust among programmers.
  • Hearsay and Preconceptions: Prejudices based on others’ experiences can color a programmer’s trust in a new manager.
  • Power Dynamics: The inherent power imbalance in a manager-report relationship can create anxiety and skepticism among programmers.

Why Managers Might Distrust Programmers

  • Incomprehension of Work: Managers who don’t understand the intricacies of programming may struggle to trust their team’s work.
  • Past Negative Experiences: Previous encounters with untrustworthy programmers can lead managers to be overly cautious.
  • Remote Work Challenges: The lack of physical oversight in remote work can make it harder for managers to trust their team’s productivity.
  • Youth Culture in Tech: The young demographic in tech can sometimes lead to assumptions of immaturity, affecting trust.
  • Financial Anxiety: The high cost of software development teams can create pressure and anxiety for managers, impacting their trust in the team.

How to Determine if Your Manager is Trustworthy

  • Micro-Commitments: Observe if your manager fulfills small commitments. Consistency in keeping promises is a good indicator of trustworthiness.
  • Corroborate with Coworkers: Cross-check the information provided by your manager with colleagues to detect any inconsistencies.
  • Engage with Skip-Level Bosses: Communicating with your manager’s superior can provide a broader perspective and verify the information’s accuracy.
  • Set Measurable Objectives: Establish clear, quantifiable goals during performance reviews and observe if they are acknowledged and rewarded appropriately.

Conclusion: Navigating Trust in Tech

Trust between programmers and managers is not just about instinct or hearsay; it involves active effort from both parties. As a programmer, it’s important to approach your relationship with your manager with an open mind, while also seeking concrete evidence of their trustworthiness. For managers, understanding the unique challenges and perspectives of programmers is crucial in building a trusting and productive team.

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On the show, Jayme shares all of his teamwork and leadership strategies, guidelines for healthy company culture, and stories about real projects so you can have a sustainable career in the software industry.

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Jayme Edwards

A family man and veteran of over 30 software projects, Jayme experienced many wins and losses that led him to helping developers succeed in their careers online.