Asking for More Responsibility at New Company as Dev Manager

Hey guys,

I just left a small development shop as a dev manager to work for a bigger development company as a dev manager. It was more of a lateral move so that I could get more exposure to deal flow (new company has a LOT more deals in the pipeline). The new company I'm working for is based out of a more "major" market, and I'm working in the local office here in more of a "secondary" market. The local office opened less than 12 months ago and it's just me, the VP, and the MD here in the office. I've been here for a few weeks now and still don't feel like I'm being given much responsibility. We have several deals in predev that we are working on out of our local office and a few more that we're trying to put under contract. In my previous role, I worked directly under the owner so I was fully in charge of coordinating all due diligence investigation reports, design coordination, entitlement efforts with the land use attorneys, contractor coordination, etc. In this role the VP seems to be taking more of the lead on many of these efforts and I'm somewhat "assisting" when asked to do so. I'm trying to show initiative and asking if help is needed on certain tasks or if they need me to do certain things, but still don't feel like my plate is being loaded up very much. I'm also trying not to step on anyone's toes as I can tell they both prefer to handle certain tasks themselves whereas in my previous role the owner was happy for me to do anything if it meant he would have less work to do himself. Like I said, it's only been a few weeks… Do I just need to be patient or do you guys have any advice?

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Comments (8)

Most Helpful
Oct 14, 2021 - 1:22pm

So, if you are one of three in an outpost... I'm guessing you will get super busy as projects progress... Development is not always "steady" in terms of work busyness (like some days/weeks are kinda light... others are constant all nighters... part of the game).

The structure of your firm is somewhat like mine (multiple offices, somethings centralized some localized). Since you are in the "small/new" shop, and seem not fully busy busy... see if you can go spend some time with other teams/HQ, etc. May be useful to get to know the larger organization all its facets. 

Plus if you ask to do this, they may realize you have some free time and give you other stuff.. either way... win win.. But seriously, if in a larger/multi-office devco, try to get out of your own office and see others and make connections around the firm, could really help your career!  

Oct 17, 2021 - 9:55am

I could ask… but our HQ is hundreds of miles away and would require me flying out there. Not sure they would be too pleased if I asked to take a field trip to go meet the folks over there during my first month. 

Oct 17, 2021 - 11:15am

so, I assumed this would require flights/hotels/per diem/etc. Clearly, you need to figure out how appropriate this is in your firm's system, but being in new office that seems that they would want you to do this to get better acquainted to the firm and how it works/operates. 

At my firm, we would expect someone like you to travel to HQ and other offices for that purpose and others, totally consistent with how we operate. This is a discussion point, not one to assume, and I don't see how inquiring about it would do anything but make you look good. 

Oct 14, 2021 - 2:55pm

Tough one I feel your pain. Its really hard to know what a role will be like at a new shop. Sometimes you just need a bit of luck with regard to the team dynamic. 

When you interviewed, did you specifically call attention to your role and how it would work within the existing team? Is the VP role more of an acquisitions role? If so, then you should theoretically have more free reign with development stuff. Or is this guy trying to micro manage you? If you think you can handle more than they are throwing at you, maybe try and tell them you think you are underutilized. You can frame it in a way where the whole team could benefit from the increase capacity you can bring to the table. 

Oct 17, 2021 - 9:46am

We are a development shop, no acquisitions. The MD is mostly focused on sourcing land and the VP on execution. I assist the VP on execution. My hope is that as time goes on and they see my capabilities they give me more free reign on execution and they both just focus on sourcing and high level design feedback. 

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Oct 16, 2021 - 3:40pm

If it's just been a few weeks I'd really give it more time. Like redever said the work flow is so variable, and you just started out. It's hard to just hand off work immediately to a new employee. Think about it from the VPs perspective, he got an extra hand, but he's been running whatever processes already and wants to be able to see them through and maintain that continuity. 

As projects grow and more deals come through I'm sure you'll see the work increase. Enjoy it now while you can!

Oct 18, 2021 - 12:13pm

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