Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

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phxjcc
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by phxjcc »

Wannaretireearly wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:47 am
phxjcc wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:40 am
Wannaretireearly wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:59 am I feel like this is question I can pose here:
For the experienced IT/tech leaders, was your salary highest in your org once you were at the director/sr. Director/VP level? Or did gaps still persist then too?

I understand my role is to grow and reward the team etc. However at some point the relative pain/stress of being in sr. management/leadership needs to pay off (even in tech/IT with high IC packages).
As to first question....
I was once a Director (manager of managers) and a Sr VP. Then I was hired as a first level manager to turn around a poor performing, but very profitable product team of 6 people; no change control, no testing standards, no support doc's, etc.

I was paid as much as my boss, who was 10 years younger and had less experience--and was wise enough to know it.

I cleaned it up.

Then there was a re-org, and as moved to an even younger boss who was in a VLCOL state.
Who was also in his job because of nepotism. (Son-in-law syndrome)
I was making 30% more than him.

He tried to cut my salary.
I objected.
He persisted.

I called the mucky-mucky that had to approve the original hiring of me.
Crickets, absolutely dead silence.
But no salary increase for 2 years.

Two years later, another re-org to a more mature manager.
Gave me a bonus to make up for Louis being such a jerk.
HIs boss eventually jumped me two positions--and to answer your question....yes I achieved my highest total comp then.

I eventually became CIO/COO.

As to second question....
YOUR JOB, as a Manager, IS TO ACCOMPLISH THINGS THROUGH OTHERS.
Period.
A good manager will be able to accomplish 12+ times more with a staff of 10 than those 10 can accomplish themselves.
S/He will also get a buzz out of doing so.
If you do not, then go back to an IC role.
it is the adrenaline rush when a major product is released and takes off that is your reward.
The stock, dollars, and accolades are secondary.

...and as John Wooden said: " do not confuse activity with accomplishment."
Thanks great insights. And congrats on making it to the cio/coo level
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Deputy: “How can you tell he was a pioneer?”

Sheriff: “All the arrows in the chest.”
cabfranc
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by cabfranc »

At my company, there is a requirement that a manager must have a 20 percent higher base salary than his/her direct reports. But this is a scientific type of industry where management is not a separate track. Most managers did technical work before they became managers. However, another manager's direct reports could make more than a manager. Salaries are thus a consideration into who can supervise who. It turns out many people with Ph.D.s don't like to be managers but that is another topic.
R2
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by R2 »

Disclosures:

I am an "overpaid" IC at a tech company with dual (techical/management) track. Did a two year stint as a tech manager about 20 years ago and opted to move to a challenging IC role. I report to a first level manager, perform individual work, and lead teams with top performers from different disciplines on projects spanning many corporate organizations.


Personal Observations:

Good managers help new employees to understand their job requirements and put them in a position to learn and succeed. They assign their top employees to the highest value tasks and provide them the support that they need, if any.

Bad managers tend to micromanage all of their employees, independent of their skills. They try to drive their solutions into every project, regardless of their role on that project.

Almost all managers are in the "good" category, but the "bad" manager can not only hold back his employee, but also inhibit performance of otherwise productive employees in other organizations.

It is much easier for a new manager to be a villain than a hero.


Thought Experiment:

You have been hired to replace a manager that was removed for cause of a department that functioned reasonably well, in spite of the poor leadership. Should you immediately become the highest paid team member?
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papiper
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by papiper »

Managers should be extremely familiar with career and pay policies within their company. Your reports depend on you to "manage that". They probably think that's your most important role. Don't look at the systems from your seat, but rather from the CEO's. If you can make your team AND the company more successful, then your career will be fine.
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JoMoney
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by JoMoney »

Different organization are different... but I don't think it's at all unusual to have administrators, including "managers", that make less than the talent.
If you are a 'manager' in a role that is a technical lead and a decision maker for operational decisions made by your subordinates that might make a difference, but I've been in situations where I was in a "manager" role that was merely administrative for the team. I did performance evaluations, time cards, and a lot of grinding administrative tasks, but several of the people I supervised made more than I did, and had technical expertise that I did not. Any one of them could likely take on the administrative 'manager' role that I had, but I wouldn't have performed well in the technical/operational role some of them had.
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oldfort
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by oldfort »

VoiceOfReason wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:03 pm I see a lot of talk about tech, defense, and other highly skilled and specialized roles.

Look at most industries:

- Manufacturing plants
- grocery stores
- retail stores
- law firms
- normal departments of any mega Corp (HR, Legal, payroll, finance, customer service, etc)
- Landscape companies, construction companies, etc
- private equity firms
- investment banking

I could go on and on. All of these have individual contributors making less than the manager or boss.

I think the group on this board and those responding are from unique industries where it’s different. I understand that.

But I do not agree that it’s somehow normal for a Mgr to make less than all of their direct reports.
I don't know as much about the contracting side, but on the government side, defense is as hierarchical as they come. It would be a strange aberration for anyone to report to a lower grade employee. The level of respect and influence you get in meetings is directly proportional to how high your GS grade is. It might be possible for a GS-14 manager to make less than their GS-13 subordinate, depending on the step level of each.
KyleAAA
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by KyleAAA »

VoiceOfReason wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:03 pm I see a lot of talk about tech, defense, and other highly skilled and specialized roles.

Look at most industries:

- Manufacturing plants
- grocery stores
- retail stores
- law firms
- normal departments of any mega Corp (HR, Legal, payroll, finance, customer service, etc)
- Landscape companies, construction companies, etc
- private equity firms
- investment banking

I could go on and on. All of these have individual contributors making less than the manager or boss.

I think the group on this board and those responding are from unique industries where it’s different. I understand that.

But I do not agree that it’s somehow normal for a Mgr to make less than all of their direct reports.
This isn’t true at the last 2 mega corps I worked. Granted, they both happen to be tech mega corps, but HR, legal, finance, etc all commonly had ICs earning more than managers. Less common than on the technical track, but it wasn’t rare, either.

Besides, OP specified IT so is it surprising answers are IT-centric?
Last edited by KyleAAA on Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Normchad
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Normchad »

Also, nobody is saying it is normal for the manager to make less than *all* the direct reports. Simply stating it is not unusual for *some* of the direct reports to make a higher base.

In a world where some managers and project leads are 26, it would be shocking if it weren’t the case.

Pay can be all over the place. And as a manager sometimes it is impossible to figure out how it happened. But it happens. And sometimes you will end up supervising overpaid yet unproductive people. It happens because sometimes it’s easier to move people than get rid of them.

And sometimes you will oversee very highly paid people that are worth every single penny they get. You have to be willing to take care of both types of people.

And remember, being a manager is a multifaceted job. Part of it is to drive the organization forward, partly by leveraging and focusing your team of direct reports. Part of it is figuring out how to maximize the value of your ICs, keeping them happy, and helping them to be even more successful.

If you just manage by spreadsheets and numbers, you’re probably doing it wrong. Everybody is a people with unique histories, skills, and motivations. It’s a big puzzle how to unlock all of that.
UnitaryExecutive
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by UnitaryExecutive »

Normchad wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:03 pm Also, nobody is saying it is normal for the manager to make less than *all* the direct reports. Simply stating it is not unusual for *some* of the direct reports to make a higher base.

In a world where some managers and project leads are 26, it would be shocking if it weren’t the case.

Pay can be all over the place. And as a manager sometimes it is impossible to figure out how it happened. But it happens. And sometimes you will end up supervising overpaid yet unproductive people. It happens because sometimes it’s easier to move people than get rid of them.

And sometimes you will oversee very highly paid people that are worth every single penny they get. You have to be willing to take care of both types of people.

And remember, being a manager is a multifaceted job. Part of it is to drive the organization forward, partly by leveraging and focusing your team of direct reports. Part of it is figuring out how to maximize the value of your ICs, keeping them happy, and helping them to be even more successful.

If you just manage by spreadsheets and numbers, you’re probably doing it wrong. Everybody is a people with unique histories, skills, and motivations. It’s a big puzzle how to unlock all of that.
At our company we have an associate manager position and these folks very often make less than all their direct reports. Also, while this thread is Manager managing ICs focused, it's also not uncommon for managers managing managers to make less than their directs. Remote manager managing lots of folks in the Bay Area is an example.
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

Managers' comparing their salaries against those of their reports is absurd and an abuse of the privilege. Companies give such privilege for budgetary reasons, NOT for personal use. What is next? Comparing educations? College grades? Marital matters? Any other personal matters?
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Horton
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Horton »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:15 pm Managers' comparing their salaries against those of their reports is absurd and an abuse of the privilege. Companies give such privilege for budgetary reasons, NOT for personal use. What is next? Comparing educations? College grades? Marital matters? Any other personal matters?
Your response must be a riddle...

Let’s suppose the following:

- I know my salary.
- I’m a manager. I am given access to my employees’ salary information in order to provide annual merit increases and other off cycle increases.

How is it possible for me to NOT compare my salary to theirs? Am I supposed to have amnesia?
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:27 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:15 pm Managers' comparing their salaries against those of their reports is absurd and an abuse of the privilege. Companies give such privilege for budgetary reasons, NOT for personal use. What is next? Comparing educations? College grades? Marital matters? Any other personal matters?
Your response must be a riddle...

Let’s suppose the following:

- I know my salary.
- I’m a manager. I am given access to my employees’ salary information in order to provide annual merit increases and other off cycle increases.

How is it possible for me to NOT compare my salary to theirs? Am I supposed to have amnesia?
What does your salary have to do with annual merit increases and other off cycle increases of your reports in the first place? The only outcome may be envy and grudge and frustration.
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Horton
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Horton »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:37 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:27 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:15 pm Managers' comparing their salaries against those of their reports is absurd and an abuse of the privilege. Companies give such privilege for budgetary reasons, NOT for personal use. What is next? Comparing educations? College grades? Marital matters? Any other personal matters?
Your response must be a riddle...

Let’s suppose the following:

- I know my salary.
- I’m a manager. I am given access to my employees’ salary information in order to provide annual merit increases and other off cycle increases.

How is it possible for me to NOT compare my salary to theirs? Am I supposed to have amnesia?
What does your salary have to do with annual merit increases and other off cycle increases of your reports in the first place? The only outcome may be envy and grudge and frustration.
My point is that ALL managers know their salary and the salary of their direct reports.
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:40 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:37 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:27 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:15 pm Managers' comparing their salaries against those of their reports is absurd and an abuse of the privilege. Companies give such privilege for budgetary reasons, NOT for personal use. What is next? Comparing educations? College grades? Marital matters? Any other personal matters?
Your response must be a riddle...

Let’s suppose the following:

- I know my salary.
- I’m a manager. I am given access to my employees’ salary information in order to provide annual merit increases and other off cycle increases.

How is it possible for me to NOT compare my salary to theirs? Am I supposed to have amnesia?
What does your salary have to do with annual merit increases and other off cycle increases of your reports in the first place? The only outcome may be envy and grudge and frustration.
My point is that ALL managers know their salary and the salary of their direct reports.
I know, but don't compare your salary against those of your reports. When you are given an authority to view the salaries of your reports, did you tell your boss that you are going to compare your salary against those of your reports? The problem OP raised is not his viewing the salaries, but his being unhappy that he is payed less than some of his reports.

A physician may examine a patient, but the examination is strictly for the health care of the patient. Same applies to attorneys, tax accountants, etc. There shouldn't be any other hidden agenda.
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Horton
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Horton »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:00 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:40 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:37 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:27 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:15 pm Managers' comparing their salaries against those of their reports is absurd and an abuse of the privilege. Companies give such privilege for budgetary reasons, NOT for personal use. What is next? Comparing educations? College grades? Marital matters? Any other personal matters?
Your response must be a riddle...

Let’s suppose the following:

- I know my salary.
- I’m a manager. I am given access to my employees’ salary information in order to provide annual merit increases and other off cycle increases.

How is it possible for me to NOT compare my salary to theirs? Am I supposed to have amnesia?
What does your salary have to do with annual merit increases and other off cycle increases of your reports in the first place? The only outcome may be envy and grudge and frustration.
My point is that ALL managers know their salary and the salary of their direct reports.
I know, but don't compare your salary against those of your reports. When you are given an authority to view the salaries of your reports, did you tell your boss that you are going to compare your salary against those of your reports? The problem OP raised is not his viewing the salaries, but his being unhappy that he is payed less than some of his reports.

A physician may examine a patient, but the examination is strictly for the health care of the patient. Same applies to attorneys, tax accountants, etc. There shouldn't be any other hidden agenda.
If I know X and I know Y, it’s not much math to figure out X > Y, X < Y, or X = Y. Again, ALL managers know where they stand (as evidenced by the responses in this thread).

I understand the spirit of your comment though. Managers need to be careful and have integrity.
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:05 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:00 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:40 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:37 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:27 pm

Your response must be a riddle...

Let’s suppose the following:

- I know my salary.
- I’m a manager. I am given access to my employees’ salary information in order to provide annual merit increases and other off cycle increases.

How is it possible for me to NOT compare my salary to theirs? Am I supposed to have amnesia?
What does your salary have to do with annual merit increases and other off cycle increases of your reports in the first place? The only outcome may be envy and grudge and frustration.
My point is that ALL managers know their salary and the salary of their direct reports.
I know, but don't compare your salary against those of your reports. When you are given an authority to view the salaries of your reports, did you tell your boss that you are going to compare your salary against those of your reports? The problem OP raised is not his viewing the salaries, but his being unhappy that he is payed less than some of his reports.

A physician may examine a patient, but the examination is strictly for the health care of the patient. Same applies to attorneys, tax accountants, etc. There shouldn't be any other hidden agenda.
If I know X and I know Y, it’s not much math to figure out X > Y, X < Y, or X = Y. Again, ALL managers know where they stand (as evidenced by the responses in this thread).

I understand the spirit of your comment though. Managers need to be careful and have integrity.
Being able to know does not mean it is OK to look for. These days, I can easily figure out the financial matters of my "friends", personal or work-related. For example, zillow.com or county registers, etc. But I don't, not because I cannot, but simply I will not.
oldfort
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by oldfort »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:15 pm Managers' comparing their salaries against those of their reports is absurd and an abuse of the privilege. Companies give such privilege for budgetary reasons, NOT for personal use. What is next? Comparing educations? College grades? Marital matters? Any other personal matters?
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:00 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:40 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:37 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:27 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:15 pm Managers' comparing their salaries against those of their reports is absurd and an abuse of the privilege. Companies give such privilege for budgetary reasons, NOT for personal use. What is next? Comparing educations? College grades? Marital matters? Any other personal matters?
Your response must be a riddle...

Let’s suppose the following:

- I know my salary.
- I’m a manager. I am given access to my employees’ salary information in order to provide annual merit increases and other off cycle increases.

How is it possible for me to NOT compare my salary to theirs? Am I supposed to have amnesia?
What does your salary have to do with annual merit increases and other off cycle increases of your reports in the first place? The only outcome may be envy and grudge and frustration.
My point is that ALL managers know their salary and the salary of their direct reports.
I know, but don't compare your salary against those of your reports. When you are given an authority to view the salaries of your reports, did you tell your boss that you are going to compare your salary against those of your reports? The problem OP raised is not his viewing the salaries, but his being unhappy that he is payed less than some of his reports.

A physician may examine a patient, but the examination is strictly for the health care of the patient. Same applies to attorneys, tax accountants, etc. There shouldn't be any other hidden agenda.
As a government employee, the idea of treating someone's salary as private or personal information seems weird. Everyone's pay grade shows up in their work email alias in every email they send.
Last edited by oldfort on Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
mnsportsgeek
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by mnsportsgeek »

I think this is more common than you might think. Especially if there is a large age gap. Some people have been working level and getting raises with their annual reviews for 40 years which adds up. It's pretty common for a younger manager to make less than their older direct reports. Not sure if that's your situation.
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

oldfort wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:45 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:15 pm Managers' comparing their salaries against those of their reports is absurd and an abuse of the privilege. Companies give such privilege for budgetary reasons, NOT for personal use. What is next? Comparing educations? College grades? Marital matters? Any other personal matters?
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:00 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:40 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:37 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:27 pm

Your response must be a riddle...

Let’s suppose the following:

- I know my salary.
- I’m a manager. I am given access to my employees’ salary information in order to provide annual merit increases and other off cycle increases.

How is it possible for me to NOT compare my salary to theirs? Am I supposed to have amnesia?
What does your salary have to do with annual merit increases and other off cycle increases of your reports in the first place? The only outcome may be envy and grudge and frustration.
My point is that ALL managers know their salary and the salary of their direct reports.
I know, but don't compare your salary against those of your reports. When you are given an authority to view the salaries of your reports, did you tell your boss that you are going to compare your salary against those of your reports? The problem OP raised is not his viewing the salaries, but his being unhappy that he is payed less than some of his reports.

A physician may examine a patient, but the examination is strictly for the health care of the patient. Same applies to attorneys, tax accountants, etc. There shouldn't be any other hidden agenda.
As a government employee, the idea of treating someone's salary as private or personal information seems weird. Everyone's pay grade shows up in their work email alias in every email they send.
According to my limited understanding, salary is considered confidential information in private sectors, but pay grade may be not.
stoptothink
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by stoptothink »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:21 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:05 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:00 pm
Horton wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:40 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:37 pm
What does your salary have to do with annual merit increases and other off cycle increases of your reports in the first place? The only outcome may be envy and grudge and frustration.
My point is that ALL managers know their salary and the salary of their direct reports.
I know, but don't compare your salary against those of your reports. When you are given an authority to view the salaries of your reports, did you tell your boss that you are going to compare your salary against those of your reports? The problem OP raised is not his viewing the salaries, but his being unhappy that he is payed less than some of his reports.

A physician may examine a patient, but the examination is strictly for the health care of the patient. Same applies to attorneys, tax accountants, etc. There shouldn't be any other hidden agenda.
If I know X and I know Y, it’s not much math to figure out X > Y, X < Y, or X = Y. Again, ALL managers know where they stand (as evidenced by the responses in this thread).

I understand the spirit of your comment though. Managers need to be careful and have integrity.
Being able to know does not mean it is OK to look for. These days, I can easily figure out the financial matters of my "friends", personal or work-related. For example, zillow.com or county registers, etc. But I don't, not because I cannot, but simply I will not.
You have to look for the financial matters of others, the compensation of your employees is literally sitting right in front of your face. You can't not know how much your employees make. There is a huge difference.
Normchad
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Normchad »

Hopefully you were elevated to management because you had the ability to absorb data from different places, remember it, and draw inferences from it that you could use to make decisions with.

It would be astonishing to not think about these things......
oldfort
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by oldfort »

MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:37 pm According to my limited understanding, salary is considered confidential information in private sectors, but pay grade may be not.
In government, this is a distinction without a difference. Knowing someone's grade, location, and years of experience at a particular grade determines their salary. You might not know an exact salary, but it's easy to estimate anyone's salary and be right within $10k.
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

stoptothink wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:57 pm You have to look for the financial matters of others, the compensation of your employees is literally sitting right in front of your face. You can't not know how much your employees make. There is a huge difference.
Ultimately what matters is your intention. The salary information of your reports which you have an access to is not for you to use for your own personal benefit. It is there for you to use for the company. Don't take it as a perk.
Afty
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Afty »

Wannaretireearly wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:44 am BTW one of the best pieces of advice I got from a past manager is to think of your team as supporting you and your growth. I still remember that and apply it daily.
I view my job as a manager the other way around -- to support my team's growth. The best outcome is that one of them grows to replace me, and I can go do other things.
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market timer
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by market timer »

Afty wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:39 pmThe best outcome is that one of them grows to replace me, and I can go do other things.
It's especially good if you keep the same role and responsibilities after having been effectively replaced :happy
muffins14
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by muffins14 »

It seems petty to set up a meeting with a director to complain about 5k. Why not use that time to think about how your team can be more impactful, resulting in a future raise for your merit?
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by HawkeyePierce »

Afty wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:39 pm
Wannaretireearly wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:44 am BTW one of the best pieces of advice I got from a past manager is to think of your team as supporting you and your growth. I still remember that and apply it daily.
I view my job as a manager the other way around -- to support my team's growth. The best outcome is that one of them grows to replace me, and I can go do other things.
+1

Literally nowhere in our career ladder does it state that an IC's job is to support their manager and their manager's growth. It's very much the other way around.
scubadiver
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by scubadiver »

oldfort wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:27 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:37 pm According to my limited understanding, salary is considered confidential information in private sectors, but pay grade may be not.
In government, this is a distinction without a difference. Knowing someone's grade, location, and years of experience at a particular grade determines their salary. You might not know an exact salary, but it's easy to estimate anyone's salary and be right within $10k.
Not everyone in the federal government is on the GS scale. In those instances the pay differential between employees at the same level in the organization can be substantial.

I always treat employee information as private, even when corporate policy or government regulations don't require it. Maybe it's publicly available. Maybe the employee decides to share it anyway. It's not my business to make those decisions, so I don't. (Obvious exception is when I'm required to share information.)

With regards to the OP's original post, I have spent about 1/3 of my career in management. I have had multiple employees earn more money than I did and I never let it bother me. I don't know the corporate culture where you are currently employed but I'm inclined to think you shouldn't let it bother you either.
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by cherijoh »

dukeblue219 wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:17 pm
cherijoh wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:34 pm
dukeblue219 wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:10 am By the way, I see everyone in this thread using IC or individual contributor as common lingo. I've never heard that term before. Is it common in certain fields? A new buzzword? Admittedly I work in government now...
I think it is quite common in STEM (Science, Technology, Englineering, and Mathematics) fields and has been for some time. (I'm retired from a STEM-related career and know it was in use at least 25 years ago). It may only apply to people with some minimum level of experience where you might be asked "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" The binary answer would be management OR individual contributor.
Thanks. I'm in the government aerospace field - certainly we have the concept of line management, technical management, and engineering all as separate tracks. I'd just never seen IC thrown around outside of Integrated Circuit but everyone here seemed to know it. Ah well!
Yeah, there are only so many acronyms, so it can get confusing.

I remember back in college a professor wrote UNIONIZE on the blackboard. It was a Chemistry class, so it was supposed to be interpreted as unionize (i.e., the reverse of ionize).
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by warner25 »

oldfort wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:51 am I don't know as much about the contracting side, but on the government side, defense is as hierarchical as they come. It would be a strange aberration for anyone to report to a lower grade employee. The level of respect and influence you get in meetings is directly proportional to how high your GS grade is. It might be possible for a GS-14 manager to make less than their GS-13 subordinate, depending on the step level of each.
I was just thinking about interesting edge cases on the uniformed side. I'm an O-4 earning substantially more (including BAH, BAS, and COLA) than my GS-14 boss; a lot more after taxes and whatever he would have to pay for health insurance. I might even be earning more than his GS-15 boss. Even more lopsided, I think we have an O-5 reporting to a GS-14 too. But all the GS-14 and GS-15 supervisors are also military O-5 retirees.

It's common for an O-3 to earn less than a prior-enlisted CW3 under his command. My favorite quirk is that the Army considers a CW3 to be a field-grade officer, whereas an O-3 is company-grade, so the subordinate CW3 would actually qualify for nicer housing among O-4 and O-5 officers at many bases. In the Aviation branch, where someone can become a WO1 at the age of 18, a CW3 might also be younger and have fewer years of service than his O-3 commander.
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Soul.in.Progress »

dukeblue219 wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:38 am
VoiceOfReason wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:00 amWow, not sure if this is an industry thing, but common sense says a manager makes more than direct reports.

If it is a field where managers are usually former contributors who have been promoted up, then that makes sense in general. But there's always going to be a few indispensable workers who have outlier salaries and don't want to be managers. I don't see that's it's common sense that my boss has to make more than me just because he signs my time card.
What is the point of becoming Mgr and taking in more stress and responsibility if total compensation isn’t better in some significant way?
Just depends on the situation and the field. Managers aren't always former worker bees who got promoted up some fixed scale. In some fields managers are just one type of labor and have a separate career track. Why should they make more as an inflexible rule than the people actually doing the work?

An average, mid level manager is replaceable. A subject-matter expert in semiconductor fabrication or software design or biochemistry may literally be irreplaceable.
Adding another data point along the same lines as the points that dukeblue219 and others have made: at the time I retired, I was a scientist at the highest rung on the technical ladder and was paid more than a few of my previous managers. I disagree that manager always equals more stress than an IC. As an SME, I was often on the hook for key presentations to key customers, industry conferences, senior executives. Several managers that I had over my career had very different roles from me, and it definitely wasn’t a given that they were under more stress or had more responsibility. I was asked to manage early on but never wanted to manage—wasn’t my sweet spot—and I personally felt I could make more of a difference in my field as an IC. Fortunately my company had an incentive path for this, and not just an incentive path for people who wanted to manage. Also, the best relationships I had with bosses were where there was support on both sides: I made him/her look good, plus he/she was good at managing and supporting the team. I would say that in all but one case (my final manager who was toxic to a lot of folks including me), the fact that the company enabled folks with different strengths to be valued in different ways (not just salary alone), bettered the company overall.

OP, I agree with others that you should focus on your impact in your role, then the salary and promotions will (should?) follow.
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Planner01 »

In my last role every single person on my team made more than me. The highest paid person almost $50k more and the lowest paid person around $20k more. But they were all at retirement age (longevity at the job got them the higher salary). It was crazy! I worked twice as hard as the highest paid person, by far.
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Wannaretireearly »

HawkeyePierce wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:27 pm
Afty wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:39 pm
Wannaretireearly wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:44 am BTW one of the best pieces of advice I got from a past manager is to think of your team as supporting you and your growth. I still remember that and apply it daily.
I view my job as a manager the other way around -- to support my team's growth. The best outcome is that one of them grows to replace me, and I can go do other things.
+1

Literally nowhere in our career ladder does it state that an IC's job is to support their manager and their manager's growth. It's very much the other way around.
Sorry, my initial comment may not be clear...i meant to say rather than be micro managing and directive in your mgmt style, it's better to take the collaborative approach in most circumstances ( not all). I.e. I work 'with my mgr, not 'for my manager...
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Wannaretireearly
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Planner01 wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:44 pm In my last role every single person on my team made more than me. The highest paid person almost $50k more and the lowest paid person around $20k more. But they were all at retirement age (longevity at the job got them the higher salary). It was crazy! I worked twice as hard as the highest paid person, by far.
Wow, that does seem a bit out of whack. How did you handle this?
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Wannaretireearly
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Afty wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:39 pm
Wannaretireearly wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:44 am BTW one of the best pieces of advice I got from a past manager is to think of your team as supporting you and your growth. I still remember that and apply it daily.
I view my job as a manager the other way around -- to support my team's growth. The best outcome is that one of them grows to replace me, and I can go do other things.
Agreed. This is actually how I got my new role. By growing a new manager in my old group....
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Soul.in.Progress wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:29 pm
dukeblue219 wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:38 am
VoiceOfReason wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:00 amWow, not sure if this is an industry thing, but common sense says a manager makes more than direct reports.

If it is a field where managers are usually former contributors who have been promoted up, then that makes sense in general. But there's always going to be a few indispensable workers who have outlier salaries and don't want to be managers. I don't see that's it's common sense that my boss has to make more than me just because he signs my time card.
What is the point of becoming Mgr and taking in more stress and responsibility if total compensation isn’t better in some significant way?
Just depends on the situation and the field. Managers aren't always former worker bees who got promoted up some fixed scale. In some fields managers are just one type of labor and have a separate career track. Why should they make more as an inflexible rule than the people actually doing the work?

An average, mid level manager is replaceable. A subject-matter expert in semiconductor fabrication or software design or biochemistry may literally be irreplaceable.
Adding another data point along the same lines as the points that dukeblue219 and others have made: at the time I retired, I was a scientist at the highest rung on the technical ladder and was paid more than a few of my previous managers. I disagree that manager always equals more stress than an IC. As an SME, I was often on the hook for key presentations to key customers, industry conferences, senior executives. Several managers that I had over my career had very different roles from me, and it definitely wasn’t a given that they were under more stress or had more responsibility. I was asked to manage early on but never wanted to manage—wasn’t my sweet spot—and I personally felt I could make more of a difference in my field as an IC. Fortunately my company had an incentive path for this, and not just an incentive path for people who wanted to manage. Also, the best relationships I had with bosses were where there was support on both sides: I made him/her look good, plus he/she was good at managing and supporting the team. I would say that in all but one case (my final manager who was toxic to a lot of folks including me), the fact that the company enabled folks with different strengths to be valued in different ways (not just salary alone), bettered the company overall.

OP, I agree with others that you should focus on your impact in your role, then the salary and promotions will (should?) follow.
Good points, and well stated. Thank you
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Wannaretireearly »

scubadiver wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:22 pm
oldfort wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:27 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:37 pm According to my limited understanding, salary is considered confidential information in private sectors, but pay grade may be not.
In government, this is a distinction without a difference. Knowing someone's grade, location, and years of experience at a particular grade determines their salary. You might not know an exact salary, but it's easy to estimate anyone's salary and be right within $10k.
Not everyone in the federal government is on the GS scale. In those instances the pay differential between employees at the same level in the organization can be substantial.

I always treat employee information as private, even when corporate policy or government regulations don't require it. Maybe it's publicly available. Maybe the employee decides to share it anyway. It's not my business to make those decisions, so I don't. (Obvious exception is when I'm required to share information.)

With regards to the OP's original post, I have spent about 1/3 of my career in management. I have had multiple employees earn more money than I did and I never let it bother me. I don't know the corporate culture where you are currently employed but I'm inclined to think you shouldn't let it bother you either.
Good points. Thanks.
The one kinda related point i'll make, which may be controversial, is ive heard/ read that when salary is transparent (not just manager/employee) , this ultimately benefits the employee. The org/company generally benefits when salary is confidential.
Others may have better info/explanations on this....
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Normchad »

Theres another thread going on, where a new manager has a couple of horrendous reports. And it's the type of beauracratic structure, where you just can't do anything about them. It seems that this type of situation, always goes hand in hand with the "everybody knows what everybody else makes" types of organizations.
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by vanpan »

  • TC matters. Base pay + bonus + stock (rsu/options). Do not just look at base bay.

    Individual contributors often make more money than managers - They could have joint when stock was low and stock is very high now. Individual contributors (tech architects) are very valuable to tech companies and the company can not retain them by paying them low.
As a data point i changed jobs a year ago from a Sr Manager to an individual contributor at a smaller company. I took a 5K cut in base pay, but my TC was almost double. ( much higher stock component).
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Posting an update given my convo with the boss. BTW, this thread really did help me to frame the conversation in the right way:
1. He talked about my and the teams accomplishments. All positive and appreciative of my efforts etc.
2. I chimed in where needed
3. We talked about opportunities this year, including me having a couple more reports to balance out things between him and I (no surprise, and something I wanted to see)
3.5. Talked about growth opportunities for my team
4. He brought up a discussion he's having with his boss about his comp/level. I agreed, he really should be at the sr. Director level given scope/level/impact etc (His scope covers an area covered in the past by a VP and Sr. Director).
5. I took the opportunity to bring up the fact that I was a lil surprised that both my reports had higher bases. Not as a ding to my reports, just as an observation...
6. Boss mentioned he realized this and has a similar scenario with himself. Quite a few IC reports of his are on a higher base than him, etc.
7. Acknowledged that he would try to bring this up with HR when discussing my expanded role/more directs etc.
8. He mentioned one symptom for both of us was being at the company a long time.

Now, I know that there is a small chance that there will actually be a change, but it plants a seed for next year and potential level changes etc. I feel better to have raised it in this way (#5). I have a good/open relationship with the boss which helped - this was 100% key to the conversation imo.

Anyway, a tricky convo that this thread helped me to navigate. I've got this off my chest in a way I'm that I'm happy about. Thanks for your help in this thread.
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by hunoraut »

VoiceOfReason wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:00 am What is the point of becoming Mgr and taking in more stress and responsibility if total compensation isn’t better in some significant way?
It is not universal that management = more stress and responsibility. I've been on the both sides of the fence.

The point is so people in an organization can do what they're best at, and get compensated equal to their contribution, rather than "promoting" people out of their area of competence INTO incompetence. e.g. pressuring a technical contributor to a manager.


I believe this is called the "Peter principle".
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Wannaretireearly »

hunoraut wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 4:37 am
VoiceOfReason wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:00 am What is the point of becoming Mgr and taking in more stress and responsibility if total compensation isn’t better in some significant way?
It is not universal that management = more stress and responsibility. I've been on the both sides of the fence.

The point is so people in an organization can do what they're best at, and get compensated equal to their contribution, rather than "promoting" people out of their area of competence INTO incompetence. e.g. pressuring a technical contributor to a manager.


I believe this is called the "Peter principle".
Perhaps true for first line management. Second line and above (Director and above in most groups) id argue does have more stress. The job becomes so broad, its about managing people. Projects, personalities and influence. Plus that factor of having to manage up as well as down.

I get it, its a different skillet to building e-widgets & the org either appreciates the skillset or not. It does explain why staying or moving back to an IC role is so attractive.
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by core4portfolio »

Cost of living if you are not in same place as your reportees
My salary was higher than my manager if i resides in NYC and my manager in Charlotte NC
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Normchad »

OP, it sounds like you and your boss had a great talk. Sounds frank, candid, and fact filled; exactly how they should be.

In terms of stress, here's the deal. Everybody has stress. It comes in different forms, but everybody has it. It's up to you how you handle it. You may not understand your direct reports stresses, but they have them too. They might be uncertain about the company, or their ability to hold the job long enough to get to retirement, etc. There is certainly stress on your high performers, when they are pressed to make tight deadlines or fix production emergencies. And there are stresses on management too; trying to keep everybody employed, keep everybody happy, be competitive in the market place. These are all different, but they are all real. And they all make people miserable at some level.

As I tell my kid, when we go to chipotle, "see all those people working back there, they work harder than me. Everybody has to work hard, it's up to you how much you get paid for it".
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by scubadiver »

Wannaretireearly wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:32 pm
scubadiver wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:22 pm
oldfort wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:27 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:37 pm According to my limited understanding, salary is considered confidential information in private sectors, but pay grade may be not.
In government, this is a distinction without a difference. Knowing someone's grade, location, and years of experience at a particular grade determines their salary. You might not know an exact salary, but it's easy to estimate anyone's salary and be right within $10k.
Not everyone in the federal government is on the GS scale. In those instances the pay differential between employees at the same level in the organization can be substantial.

I always treat employee information as private, even when corporate policy or government regulations don't require it. Maybe it's publicly available. Maybe the employee decides to share it anyway. It's not my business to make those decisions, so I don't. (Obvious exception is when I'm required to share information.)

With regards to the OP's original post, I have spent about 1/3 of my career in management. I have had multiple employees earn more money than I did and I never let it bother me. I don't know the corporate culture where you are currently employed but I'm inclined to think you shouldn't let it bother you either.
Good points. Thanks.
The one kinda related point i'll make, which may be controversial, is ive heard/ read that when salary is transparent (not just manager/employee) , this ultimately benefits the employee. The org/company generally benefits when salary is confidential.
Others may have better info/explanations on this....
I am familiar with the concept of pay transparency, though I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to speak to its merits. Even so, such a decision would be a corporate decision and not a decision I am making as a manager.

Anyway, it seems to be that you have had some positive discussions with your manager. That's great. The only additional comments I might offer are that you are obviously a highly capable individual to have gotten to where you are now. Focus on developing your own leadership skill set and, when the time is right, be an advocate for yourself and the value you bring to the organization. But do yourself a favor and separate that discussion from discussions of how your team members are doing and their contributions to the organization. It's just not a good look.
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Wannaretireearly »

core4portfolio wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:00 pm Cost of living if you are not in same place as your reportees
My salary was higher than my manager if i resides in NYC and my manager in Charlotte NC
Agreed. No issues at all in these circumstances
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Normchad wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:04 pm OP, it sounds like you and your boss had a great talk. Sounds frank, candid, and fact filled; exactly how they should be.

In terms of stress, here's the deal. Everybody has stress. It comes in different forms, but everybody has it. It's up to you how you handle it. You may not understand your direct reports stresses, but they have them too. They might be uncertain about the company, or their ability to hold the job long enough to get to retirement, etc. There is certainly stress on your high performers, when they are pressed to make tight deadlines or fix production emergencies. And there are stresses on management too; trying to keep everybody employed, keep everybody happy, be competitive in the market place. These are all different, but they are all real. And they all make people miserable at some level.

As I tell my kid, when we go to chipotle, "see all those people working back there, they work harder than me. Everybody has to work hard, it's up to you how much you get paid for it".
Thanks, yep it was a great chat.
Good points on stress. My only add is there is the type of stress which is under your control, work smart/hard/harder/weekends (if needed) and you'll be successful (most IC's). Then there's the type of stress where your getting pounded by things not immediately in your control. End up having multiple senior exec bosses, multiple directions from all over the org, pulled all over the place daily etc. Ive seen examples where middle/senior execs (Director to VP) have handled all that well...and the converse.

Different type of stress and work. One of the reasons the CEO will always make more than an IC. (Exaggerated example). Like I said, it really makes us all think about where you'd like to be in the org and the relative tradeoffs

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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Thanks. Great points!
scubadiver wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 1:13 pm
Wannaretireearly wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:32 pm
scubadiver wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:22 pm
oldfort wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:27 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:37 pm According to my limited understanding, salary is considered confidential information in private sectors, but pay grade may be not.
In government, this is a distinction without a difference. Knowing someone's grade, location, and years of experience at a particular grade determines their salary. You might not know an exact salary, but it's easy to estimate anyone's salary and be right within $10k.
Not everyone in the federal government is on the GS scale. In those instances the pay differential between employees at the same level in the organization can be substantial.

I always treat employee information as private, even when corporate policy or government regulations don't require it. Maybe it's publicly available. Maybe the employee decides to share it anyway. It's not my business to make those decisions, so I don't. (Obvious exception is when I'm required to share information.)

With regards to the OP's original post, I have spent about 1/3 of my career in management. I have had multiple employees earn more money than I did and I never let it bother me. I don't know the corporate culture where you are currently employed but I'm inclined to think you shouldn't let it bother you either.
Good points. Thanks.
The one kinda related point i'll make, which may be controversial, is ive heard/ read that when salary is transparent (not just manager/employee) , this ultimately benefits the employee. The org/company generally benefits when salary is confidential.
Others may have better info/explanations on this....
I am familiar with the concept of pay transparency, though I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to speak to its merits. Even so, such a decision would be a corporate decision and not a decision I am making as a manager.

Anyway, it seems to be that you have had some positive discussions with your manager. That's great. The only additional comments I might offer are that you are obviously a highly capable individual to have gotten to where you are now. Focus on developing your own leadership skill set and, when the time is right, be an advocate for yourself and the value you bring to the organization. But do yourself a favor and separate that discussion from discussions of how your team members are doing and their contributions to the organization. It's just not a good look.
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by hunoraut »

Wannaretireearly wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:56 pm Perhaps true for first line management. Second line and above (Director and above in most groups) id argue does have more stress. The job becomes so broad, its about managing people. Projects, personalities and influence. Plus that factor of having to manage up as well as down.

I get it, its a different skillet to building e-widgets & the org either appreciates the skillset or not. It does explain why staying or moving back to an IC role is so attractive.
It can be easily be argued the broader the job, the easier it is, because the troops do the heavy lifting. A common optimal end-state of a manager is setting up their team so well that it runs by itself.

That managers have to manage personalities itself explains why staying/moving to IC is attractive: different people (=personalities) have different preferences. And some people simply prefer to be have singular focused tasks and employ technical skills over soft skills.

To make a very exaggerated analogy, just consider the relationship, pay differential, pressure, and desirability of a star athete vs his/her coach
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Re: Manager vs. Direct report salary issues

Post by 1789 »

ICs are more valuable than managers hence more compensation is fair.
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