Interestingly, about the same time when I was writing about how managers should assign jobs to employees, Scot Herrick on Cube Rules was writing on same topic from an employee perspective (“Help your manager help you improve your job skills“)! I liked his example of how employees can cause their own downfall by not using manager in right way:
Think of writing code for your job but then asking your manager to help you become a loan officer because that is your career aspiration. That is a very difficult request to both justify and provide as a manager!
I have seen many variations on this. One that comes to mind immediately is the case where manager had given explicit feedback (and others in the team were in total agreement) that a particular employee could not be a good lead and hence he should grow as individual contributor; however, in every performance review cycle, he would say “I want to become a lead”, would threaten to quit, and won’t really work on being a great individual contributor. Finally he left (3-4 performance review cycles later) but it was clear he didn’t want his manager to help him!