Nancy Vepraskas - P2Excellence - Atlanta GA A leadership Performance Company


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Managing Up

It’s time to make the critical shift from leading the business by yourself to leading an organization of people. At P2Excellence, we help you navigate the uncharted territories of organizational growth with clarity and confidence.
Successful entrepreneurs and business people achieving goals

“Why should I manage my manager? Don’t they get paid to… manage?”

It’s an understandable sentiment. For many, the term “managing up” carries a connotation of “sucking up” or flattery. But in reality, managing up means actively facilitating the crucial relationship you have with the person you report to. Why would you do this? So that you, your manager, and the organization can achieve results. Managing up is a set of choices you make about how you relate to and work with your manager. The payoff is increased opportunities in your current job and for the bigger picture of your career.

Here are three ways you can create a mutually beneficial work relationship with your boss:

  • Get to know your manager’s style.
    Observe their behaviors, actions, and reactions to figure out their preferences for work, communication, and pace. And don’t only observe … ask! Have a conversation to find out how the two of you can connect. Ask for examples of what has worked (and not worked) between the two of your in the past. Use tools (e.g., DiSC®) to gain insight into your preferences and how they interact with your manager’s style. Once you know what your boss prefers, align your approach with their preferences.
  • Build and maintain trust.
    Does your manager trust you?
    Your boss will be looking at three things when assessing the trust they have in you:
    • Ability:
      Do you have (and maintain) the skills needed to do your job? What complementary skills could help your boss with aspects of their job?
    • Integrity:
      Do you consistently deliver on your commitments? Can your boss delegate to you and know you will handle the tasks?
    • Benevolence:
      Do you have your manager’s best interests in mind when you make suggestions or take action? Are your actions aligned with your manager’s goals?
  • Mitigate your manager’s weaknesses.
    Your manager, just like you, has strengths and weaknesses. Once you establish a solid foundation of communication and trust, look for ways that you can mitigate your manager’s weaknesses and then offer observations and suggestions.
    • Consider this recommendation from a team member to their boss:
      “Based on some feedback I’m hearing, I think a more detailed sales report from our team would increase our credibility with the leadership team. What if I added a few more data points and references in the next report that support your summary? You can stay focused on the bigger picture goals while we increase our standing with your colleagues. I can put together a sample for us to review together if you’re interested.”

Ultimately, managing up is an acknowledgement that your manager’s goals are high priority and ultimately have an impact on your success. If you integrate your goals and skills with theirs, and proactively manage the relationship, you are well on your way to successfully “managing up” without “sucking up.

P2Excellence has tools to provide you with even more insights into this important relationship. Contact us for more information! You can reach me, Shawn Devine, at: [email protected]

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