In today’s article you’re going to learn everything you need to know about how to manage up at work.
The idea of “managing up” has become increasingly popular in the corporate world over the past few years. Contrary to what the term might imply, managing up is not about manipulating or exerting power over your boss, but rather involves recognizing and leveraging their strengths in conjunction with your own.
By identifying your respective areas of expertise, you can engage in open communication with your boss about how to effectively combine your skills. This collaborative approach can enhance your working relationship and help you accomplish previously unattainable goals, benefiting everyone in the organization.
How To Manage Up At Work
1. To effectively manage up, it’s important to identify your boss’s strengths.
Just like anyone else, your boss has areas in which they excel more than others. You can observe their behaviors and pay attention to their most frequently displayed qualities, whether it’s their excellent time management skills, meticulous attention to detail, or ability to delegate tasks for maximum productivity.
These characteristics can offer insight into how to communicate with them effectively. Additionally, your boss’s reputation within the company can also provide clues to their defining attributes. Understanding what motivates your boss is a crucial first step in building a positive and productive working relationship with them.
2. Reflecting on what you appreciate most about your boss’s management style can be a helpful exercise in managing up.
Consider if they are approachable and if they seem to prioritize your best interests. Furthermore, think about what personal characteristics you share with them. These insights can provide valuable information about how they work effectively.
While administrative skills are important, employees generally respond more positively to bosses with strong interpersonal skills. Understanding your boss’s management style and how it aligns with your own can improve your ability to communicate and work together effectively.
3. In managing up, it’s also important to recognize areas where your boss may have weaknesses.
Perhaps they struggle with organization or are not open to considering alternative viewpoints. By identifying these potential pitfalls, you can work to avoid them when making important decisions.
It can be beneficial to view it as a responsibility for you and your team to fill in the gaps in your boss’s management style. If your boss is resistant to being corrected, finding a tactful way to point out misunderstandings can be helpful.
By minimizing your boss’s shortcomings, you can allow their positive attributes to take the spotlight. Ultimately, a more well-rounded and effective management style can emerge when everyone works together to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
4. Developing a personal relationship with your boss can be valuable in managing up.
If you don’t know who they are as a person, it can be challenging to understand their management style. By looking beyond their words and actions, you can gain insight into what motivates them and use that information to prioritize your work accordingly.
It’s helpful to think of your boss as a friend, someone you make an effort to understand rather than blame or hold a grudge against. A positive work relationship can increase the likelihood that your boss will take your input seriously and view you as an asset to the team. Building a deeper understanding of your boss can lead to a more productive and satisfying work environment for everyone involved.
5. In managing up, it’s important to focus on your own strengths as an employee.
Take some time to reflect on your abilities and create a ranking of them based on your own assessment. If you’re unsure where to start, consider instances when your boss has praised your performance or acknowledged your strengths.
These cues can provide valuable insights into the areas where you excel and which of your skills are most valued. Often, your most valuable skills are the ones that come naturally to you.
By understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you can use your abilities to complement and balance those of your managers. This can lead to a more effective and collaborative working relationship that benefits both you and your boss.
6. To effectively manage up, it’s important to put your strengths to use.
Start by creating a list of your duties, ranked in order of priority. Then, focus your energy on the tasks that require your strongest skills. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your boss about where they believe your attention should be focused.
Understanding each person’s strengths and assigning tasks accordingly is a highly effective strategy for managing up, and can benefit the company as a whole. You can encourage your boss to allow you to apply your strengths by suggesting ideas like “How would you feel about letting my team handle customer service for the next couple of weeks while you focus on administrative tasks?
Then, we can talk about how it worked.” Remember, a good manager can also help you improve in areas where you may be lacking by providing guidance and reminders.
7. Determine the most effective communication style for your boss.
If your boss prefers face-to-face interaction (1) over written communication, prioritize speaking to them in person whenever possible. On the other hand, if your boss prefers written communication, make sure to send emails or memos as needed, and mark them with appropriate tags to indicate urgency.
You may have to adjust your preferred style to align with your boss’s communication preferences, but doing so will help you effectively convey your messages and be more productive in your work. If you need to speak with your boss, you can politely approach them during a convenient time and ask for a brief discussion.
8. To increase the chances of your ideas being implemented, it’s important to persuade your manager that they’re valuable.
Sometimes, simply presenting your suggestions based on their own merits is not enough. Instead, try framing them in a way that emphasizes what your boss stands to gain from trying them out.
For example, instead of saying “having so many salespeople on the floor is costing us money,” you could take a more diplomatic approach and say “I believe that reducing the weekly sales force would cut expenses and provide a more personalized customer experience.”
To do this effectively, it’s important to put yourself in your manager’s shoes and present your input in a way that aligns with their goal of ensuring the company’s success.
9. Express regular updates to your boss.
Develop a routine of having periodic friendly meetings or sending short emails at the end of each week. During these updates, recap the company’s goals and accomplishments and provide progress reports for ongoing projects. This indicates that you take your responsibilities seriously and don’t need to be reminded to check in.
Deliver your progress reports in a conversational and informative style. For instance, your weekly email could say: “Hi, Ms. Smith, I am sharing with you a list of each department inspected this week. Department A and B had some minor concerns that we addressed with corrective action. We were able to meet our target production, and we even exceeded it on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
In addition to keeping your boss informed, this approach can help you avoid micromanagement (2) from an overly involved supervisor.
10. The objective is not to change your boss, but to bring out the best in both of you.
The aim is not to manipulate your boss into doing things your way or give them the impression that you know more than they do. It is more beneficial to view the situation as adapting to your boss’s behavior instead of managing it in the conventional sense. Respect is crucial in any working relationship, and it is important to keep this in mind.
11. It’s important to avoid taking on too much work.
As you demonstrate your value and enhance your cooperation with your boss, they may ask you to take on more responsibilities. Without complaining, it’s important to let them know if you feel overwhelmed. Given that you have established yourself as a team player, it’s possible that they will be willing to reach a compromise.
Instead of focusing on the fact that the additional work isn’t part of your job description, try framing it positively by stating that you can be more productive by concentrating on specific areas. It’s natural to want to impress your boss, but it’s sometimes better to decline some tasks, particularly if they will affect your performance.
12. When working with a supervisor, disagreements are inevitable.
However, it is important to resolve these disputes quickly to prevent further damage to the relationship. As the employee, take the initiative to mend the relationship by addressing the issue calmly and quickly.
For example, apologize and ask for clarification on the supervisor’s point of view. Effective communication is crucial not only when things are going smoothly but also when there are problems to be resolved.
13. It’s important to tread carefully and not overstep your boundaries with your boss.
While managing up can be beneficial for the company, if done incorrectly, it may have negative consequences for you. It’s essential to recognize when it’s appropriate to voice your opinions and when it’s best to stay quiet.
Avoid providing unsolicited criticism or advice unless your boss explicitly asks for it. For example, offhand remarks like “I don’t understand why we’re changing our strategy” could be interpreted negatively if shared at an inappropriate time.
Sometimes, you may need to accept your boss’s decisions, even if you disagree with them. In such situations, it’s essential to know when to accept a “no” and move on.
Managing up at work involves developing a good working relationship with your boss, which can lead to a positive and productive workplace environment. To manage up effectively, you should focus on understanding your boss’s preferences and adapting to their style, communicating regularly and providing regular progress reports, being proactive about keeping your boss informed, being respectful and professional, avoiding taking on more than you can handle, resolving disputes quickly, and being careful not to overstep your boundaries or offer unsolicited criticism or advice. By following these tips, you can improve your relationship with your boss and help the company succeed.
Thank you for reading this article about how to manage up at work and I really hope that you take action my advice.
I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you. +