Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Implemented Correctly, “Managing Up” Can Work for You

“Managing up” is a term describing the actions of someone who makes it a point to understand the boss and, in doing so, uses initiative in his/her job to make the boss’s job easier. When implemented poorly, managing up can be viewed as manipulative and disrespectful, but handled correctly, it can produce a win-win situation for the employee and the manager.

The important thing is to manage up in a productive and positive way, and these tips should help:
  • Build trust: Good relationships are built on trust. To manage up successfully, your manager must trust your work and know your professional interactions will be conducted with integrity.
  • Help make your manager shine: Going above and beyond to help support your manager makes his/her job easier and helps the manager—and hopefully you—shine in front of bosses, peers, and clients. Consider picking up extra tasks to help your manager prepare for a meeting or track down information to aid in a decision-making process in which the manager is involved.
  • Recognize management style and hot buttons: Being aware and respectful of your boss’s management style and adapting to it will promote a better working relationship. It is also important to avoid pushing your boss’s hot buttons if you want to form a more productive and successful relationship.
  • Stay abreast of your manager’s priorities: Identifying and staying on top of your manager’s work priorities will help you further support his/her professional endeavors. Plus, you should be prioritizing many of your own tasks based on your manager’s priorities.
  • Maintain excellent communication: Work with your manager to identify the best way to provide updates about your work. Managers do not appreciate being blindsided at inopportune times by information they should have already been made aware.
  • Solve problems and present ideas: If you’re going to present your manager with issues, be prepared to propose solutions—preferably, with ideas that are innovative and proactive.

It is impractical to think that everyone can have a perfect relationship with a manager even if the employee does an excellent job managing up. However, it is very realistic that many of the techniques used in managing up will benefit both the manager and the employee professionally.

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