Managing Up – Three Things You Need to Know

Managing up is one of the hot topics in today’s world of career development.  It seems that, regardless of where you are in your career, everyone is interested in understanding how to better manage their relationship with their boss, so that they can have an improved working environment.  Even if you’ve never heard the term “managing up”, you’ve likely heard of the concept – and have maybe even engaged in it one time or another.

However, if you are interested in learning more about how to effectively manage up, here are three quick things that you should know:

  1. – Managing up is all about relationships

At its core, managing up can be defined as teaching your boss how to best manage you.  The idea is that you want to make your work life easier, and you want to make her life easier as well – you do that by communicating and building a relationship.  If you’re able to do that well, then you have the opportunity and ability to establish trust with your supervisor.  From there, it’s easy to improve your work environment and have a pleasant and productive assignment going forward.

  1. – YOU (not your boss) are in charge of your interactions

At the risk of sounding redundant – managing up is about teaching your boss how to best manage you.  Just as in other relationships in your life, you are responsible for teaching your supervisor how he or she can and should treat you.  Often, I hear from clients who are frustrated due to the lack of professional development that they have received.  Usually, when talking with these clients, they seem to be under the impression that their supervisors are responsible for overseeing the growth and development of their careers – however, that just isn’t the case.  If growth and promotion is what you want in your company, or in your career, you must be assertive and forward thinking about your interactions with your superiors.  Talk to them about concerns that you have or ideas you would like to test out.  Show your strengths to them – do not assume that he or she will seek you out in order to give you additional opportunities.  While those bosses do exist – they (and their opportunities) are few and far between.

 – Managing up requires maturity

Managing up means establishing a productive working relationship with your supervisor – and sometimes this isn’t always easy.  We have all had difficult bosses, bosses who we felt we were smarter than, and/or bosses that we just did not gel with.  However, if you would like to have a good relationship with your boss, YOU have to be invested in doing the work.   A sound working relationship comes with time, and with proving that you are reliable, as well as someone that your supervisor can trust.  It isn’t about manipulating your manager, or delegating tasks to him or her – rather, it is about gaining their buy-in and making them care about you and your professional growth by demonstrating that you care about theirs.  It’s about looking out for your boss, and also about honestly and professionally finding ways to advocate for yourself.  Be honest about what you want and need from them, and help them find ways to get you what you need.

For more information about Managing Up, click here to listen to a replay of our recent webinar on the subject, featuring OSUAA’s Director of Lifelong Learning, Lauren Luffy.

Have a great week!

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