Manager Oasis

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Making Everyone’s Job Easier

By: Joe Majewski

Managing up is an important topic that we don’t hear enough about.  All new managers/managers in new positions focus so much attention on ensuring they successfully manage their direct reports that they sometimes forget to focus just as much energy on their boss.

So, what is managing up?

Managing up is building a relationship with your boss that utilizes their best traits to bring the best out of you as an employee.   

Managing up can be a daunting thought for any manager because you’ve already got your hands full, ensuring you are an effective leader to those you manage. However, to maximize your value, just like crossing the street, you need to look both ways. 

Okay, how do I manage up?

The two most important things you can do to manage up are good communication and evaluating your boss. (Wait, but he’s supposed to be the one evaluating me?)

Good communication comes up in almost any topic you look into in business, and there is a good reason.  It is the most important tool to add to your business toolbox.  Since your dealing with your superior, you’ll have to follow his lead in preference for means of communication and frequency.

Managing up is NOT a way to get your boss to conform to your preferences or schedule, nor is it a way to change him in any way that you feel would make him a better leader. Instead, it is taking existing good qualities and bolstering your performance and the company’s performance in the process.

Once you’ve got the communication format down, it’s time to evaluate.  Your boss, like all 8 billion+ human beings on the planet, will have strengths (no, really, it’s true) and weaknesses (obviously).  This step will certainly be the most time-consuming as you will need to get to really know your boss over a period of months.  In fact, this concept of evaluating your boss should be something you do continuously throughout your relationship.  People change, and we need to change right along with them.

The last piece is figuring out ways you can utilize their strengths to improve your job performance.  If your boss thrives allowing you to have many freedoms, you make sure to be ready to make any decision required.  If your boss excels when he is updated frequently, make sure to have all the information he needs ready before he asks.  Do anything and everything you can to make yourself your boss’s go-to person.

Sounds like a lot of work. Why should I even bother?

Easy, actively managing up will be helpful to you.  Being at odds with your boss or not being on the same page will ultimately end up with your job performance suffering.  This will affect everything from the perception of you to the amount you get in raises.

Also, this line of open communication is a great way for you to talk with your boss about your prospective career path, and it will help your boss see you as a leader worth moving up in the organization.  So, go ahead, be self-serving.  Get out there and manage up!

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