Manage Up – Develop a Collaborative Relationship with Your Boss that Supports Your Career Satisfaction and Advancement
If you want to make an impact in your organization, you must manage up!
A Gallup Poll of more than one million employed US. workers showed that the number one reason people quit their jobs is because of a bad boss or immediate supervisor; this concludes that people leave managers, not companies. The effect of poor management can be is frustrating for you and it can stifles productivity for your team. It will draw negative attention from top leaders, and can stall your career advancement.
Whether this describes your situation with your manager, your career advancement plan should include managing up.
Managing up is a deliberate approach to working with your manager to obtain the best results for your team, your boss, and yourself. When you manage up, you build a collaborative and productive working relationship with your boss, and together you can, use your complementary strengths to make significant impacts to achieve results. Think about your relationship as a partnership with shared objectives.
A strong relationship with your manager can increase your impact in your organization, and it will make your work life easier and more satisfying. It will eliminate frustration due to lack of resources, from not being heard, or being given unclear expectations. It can also eliminate that frustration from a lack of communication and it can avoid potential poor performance and career stagnation. How well you manage up will demonstrate your potential to lead at more senior levels in your organization and your ability to take initiative and overcome obstacles and challenges. These are all critical measures of leadership.
Once you successfully manage up, you will gain the attention of decision-makers as someone who can get things done, which will help them to recognize your value within the organization. This will give you an edge when you are being considered for promotions.
Here are five things you can do to manage up:
- Foster Communication
The foundation of successfully managing up is fostering communication so your boss will be open and receptive to your opinions and ideas and won’t take offense when you demonstrate initiative.
Be a proactive communicator. Learn her language and provide her with information in her preferred style. If you want people to act on your ideas, opinions and requests, you must speak their language. Observe your boss’s behavioral and communication style. You may have great information to convey, but if you don’t convey it in a way that your boss can really hear, it will fall on deaf ears.
There are four basics that you absolutely must take responsibility for getting from that boss:
1) Come to an agreement about expectations, key responsibilities, performance standards, timelines, and measures of success.
2) Clarify the skills, tools, and resources necessary to meet those expectations, and set guidelines to obtain resources when necessary.
3) Request and be receptive to advice as well as candid and honest feedback without getting defensive. This should be a discussion, and you should request specific and actionable critiques.
4) Keep her informed. Bosses do not like surprises.
- Learn your manager’s pressures, challenges and priorities
Understand your boss’s perspective and agenda. Ask your manager to share her own goals and objectives with you, and let her know how you can assist her in meeting her own performance commitments. Learn your boss’s strengths and weaknesses and how you can complement them. This is an opportunity to take on stretch assignments, to develop new skills, and to broaden your network.
Learn the answers to these questions:
- What is your manager ultimately trying to accomplish, and why?
- What does she value most, both personally and professionally?
- How is she planning to make her mark on the company?
- What role can you play in her career plan?
- Be a problem solver
Anticipate and avoid problems. Rather than being one of the many who can identify and shine the spotlight on problems, be one of the few who can collaborate to develop and implement solutions.
When there is a problem on the horizon, it’s important to forewarn your boss before a crisis develops, so that you can work together to head off the problem.
- Remain informed
Understand how the organization operates. Understand how changes in your department will affect the work in other departments, and how your department can work with other departments to improve processes.
Stay current about industry technology and be a resource of ideas, and solutions.
Commit to your professional development so you can gain valuable skills that can help the department succeed.
When organization-wide change occurs or if budgets get cut it’s important to know which projects and initiatives are most important, so you know what to focus your efforts on.
- Do the best job you can do; keep a good attitude
If you are working with a boss who does not support your career goals, or if you’re working for an organization that experiences constant change, don’t slack off, or lose interest, or even stop performing. Be the source of solutions for improvement and calm during chaos.
Be forth right and dependable.
If you are being overlooked for promotions, if you’re not being taken seriously, or if your ideas are not being acknowledged, then you need to hone your skills to manage up. Strive to become recognized as someone too valuable to lose.
If your career plans include advancement and making impactful contributions, you should ensure that developing a collaborative relationship with your manager is a priority, and managing up should be included in your plan.