Pop quiz: What does it mean to manage up?
There are so many different ways this term is used, and it’s often thrown around with a lot of intention but not much action.
Employees are frequently told to manage up, and have every intention of doing so on an intellectual level yet fail to take the necessary steps to actually do it.
What managing up means to me is anticipating your boss’s needs before they arise, respecting their time and energy, and going above and beyond to make the relationship effective and your work impactful and efficient.
Bottom line: You need to make your boss’s job easier – for your benefit, theirs, and the whole company’s.
It makes you indispensable, and it’s more likely your manager will be happy, and you’ll get a raise and/or promotion based on your work. Managing up creates a dynamic environment at the office and leaves everyone feeling fulfilled and connected.
Another big reason it’s so important tofollow throughon managing up is because it’s the secret sauce to moving up in your career – i.e., getting a promotion. For managers, it’s the key to holding an epic team together and keeping the company strong, united, and profitable – while staying sane themselves.
Employees, today I’m going to share 10 ways you canactuallymanage up, rather than just saying or thinking you want to, but not really knowing how to go about it.
Managers, use this list to help guide your employees, or simply forward them this article – easy peasy.
1.Organize your ideas – and get data to prove their efficacy – before sending a meeting invite or placing a call.
Your manager is not the person to call – or worse, run into their office –rightafter inspiration hits or you have a big “aha” moment.
I know how it feels to get super excited about an idea and want to share it right away, but you need to do research first so you can paint a clear picture of the end result and how you’ll get there when you present it to your boss.
Gather your ideas in a clean format, and whenever possible, collect data that supports them – whether anecdotal or formal.
2.After you’ve organized your ideas and done your research, trim the excess.
You can probably remove at least one third of your talking points while still getting your message across.
Busy executives don’t have time for you to ramble, so you need to be concise.
This takes preparation.
3.If you have a problem you need to bring to your manager’s attention, always present at least 2-3 possible solutions.
Your boss doesn’t have time to solve a bunch of little challenges every day, so show them you’re a problem solver by presenting a few ideas for approval, rather than asking them what you should do.
They may have an opinion, or they may want you to choose, which is great – it means they trust you.
When you’re asked to jump in on a project unexpectedly, do it as efficiently and effectively as possible andthenreview your workload and reprioritize.
If it’s important enough for your boss to ask you to help out, you have time to hold off on your other projects.
5.Request a weekly 15-minute 1:1 meeting with your manager.
If she or he is difficult to reach or pin down, this automates your contact.
Any good manager can make time for a 15-minute meeting with their employee, and it forces you to be efficient with their time by preparing your questions and ideas in advance.
6.Make decisions and take action as if you had your manager’s job.
This is what all bosses really want. Put yourself in their shoes by considering their challenges and acting as if you were the head chief.
You’d be surprised at the perspective you gain when you zoom out on your own challenges, pretend you’re them, and consider your department and company as a whole.
7.Keep the big picture in mind.
If your manager has 7 reports who each have 3 direct reportsandthey’re overseeing the entire department and/or operation, it’s likely their plate is more than full, all the time.
Your challenges make up less than 10% of their overall issues, so pick and choose which topicsreallyneed their attention, and be very selective.
8.Deliver on deadlines.
Your manager isn’t a school teacher who should have to remind you when projects are due.
As soon as you get an assignment, mark your calendar with a clear reminder for a few daysbeforeit’s actually due, so you can make sure you’re on track to meet your deadline.
Just like that, your calendar becomes your private assistant.
9.Work behind the scenes.
You can be proactive by organizing meetings with your colleagues and giving your manager a very concise recap with important findings and ideas.
This is a great way to show you’re someone who can lead other people, and will increase your chances of being promoted in the future.
Thereisa time when managing up goes terribly wrong, and that’s when you step on your boss’s toes.
It’s one thing to anticipate their needs and make sure your work benefits themandthe team as a whole while respecting their time and energy, but it’s another thing when you’retooindependent.
For example, if your manager is mid-level and you step over them and go directly to the CEO with an idea, that would be stepping on their toes.
Domanage up, butdon’tmake this career-threatening mistake.
Use your intuition and go to your direct manager first if you think you might be overstepping your boundaries.
There you have it – 10 ways to manage up so you can make your boss’s life easier, your team more efficient, AND increase your chances of getting a promotion, raise, or both.
Which step will you use today, or if you’re a manager, share with your team? Leave a comment below – wewould love to hear from you.