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What You Need To Know About Managing Up

Updated: Sep 1, 2023

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Your relationship with your boss can have a big impact on your job satisfaction and career. Even if there seem to be some flaws in their management style or your personalities clash, you can still work together successfully if you learn the art of managing up.

The more skillful you become at helping your boss do their job, the more valuable you become to them. You’ll probably be happier and more productive at work as well.

Take charge of your career and maximize your opportunities by learning how to manage up.

Managing up starts with paying attention to your own performance. If you consistently meet and exceed expectations, your boss will be more likely to value your feedback and trust you with greater responsibility.

These strategies will help you shine:

  1. Clarify priorities. Understand your boss’s priorities, so you’ll know where to devote your time and efforts. Start your day by blocking out time for your most urgent and important tasks.

  2. Leverage your strengths. You’ll perform better if you make your strengths work for you. Try to structure your job so that your responsibilities and activities align with your natural capabilities.

  3. Fulfill commitments. Deliver what you promise. Meet deadlines and complete projects, especially when your work affects what your boss and colleagues are trying to accomplish.

  4. Always be learning. Keep an open mind and use every opportunity to learn. Acquiring new knowledge and skills shows your boss that you care about your work and growing your capabilities.

  5. Stay upbeat. Higher, more positive energy makes it easier to deal with workplace stress. Take a deep breath and smile. Look for the humor in challenging situations.

  6. Add value. Evaluate your performance on a regular basis so you can track your accomplishments and share them with your boss. Set ambitious goals and find areas of your job where you can excel.

Even if your boss plays favorites or lacks strong communication skills, there are many things you can do to build a healthier relationship.

Try these techniques to bond and connect with your boss:

  1. Adapt to their style. It’s up to you to adjust to your boss’s habits and preferences. This doesn’t mean you have to act like them but the more you understand their style and preferences, the better you can respond. For example, if they are a micromanager, prepare for meetings by ensuring you know the status of all the work your team is doing.

  2. Be supportive. Remember that your boss is human and you’re on the same team. Empathize with the pressures they face. Focus on finding ways to make them look good and make their job easier.

  3. Provide updates. Keep your boss informed about what you’re doing. Let them know when you’re making progress and when you might be falling behind. If you need to report a setback, be prepared with at least one proposal for how to fix the issue.

  4. Respect their time. Show your boss that you value their time. Write up an agenda before you meet with them and sent them a list of action items afterwards.

  5. Anticipate their needs. Try to provide your boss with answers before they have to ask the question. Monitor the company calendar and their schedule to see what meetings and events they have coming up. Be proactive about collecting and creating relevant information and reports.

  6. Socialize occasionally. While your primary focus needs to be on work, having fun together can enrich any business relationship. Attend office parties and outings. Chat about hobbies, vacations, and your families.

Use managing up to help you develop a mutually beneficial, and even enjoyable, relationship with your boss. Your work life will be less stressful, and your career will benefit.

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