The term “managing up” is just another way to describe the ability to work well with your boss. Jennifer Bridges, PMP, shows you why it’s mutually beneficial for you and your boss.
Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!
In Review – 10 New Tips for Managing Up
Jennifer noted that rather than managing up, she prefers the term leading up. You’re not trying to manipulate the boss, but rather you’re working with the strengths of anyone in the organization, regardless of where they stand in the company’s hierarchy. This collaboration with colleagues can happen through scheduled meetings, or on an everyday basis with a project collaboration tool.
While she already spoke about how to manage your manager, new research and the subtle difference between a manager and a boss, compelled Jennifer to take another look at the topic.
Why Manage Up?
You’re already responsible for a team and maybe other people in the organization, why must you now also have to take responsibility for those who sit higher up in the chain of command? Because it’s mutually beneficial for all parties.
Your boss needs you to get the job done. The boss is accountable just like you. Also, you need the guidance and support from the boss to make it possible for you to have a viable path and authority to get the work done. It’s really a complementary relationship.
The skill of knowing how to work with your boss is a valuable one to have, hone and evolve. It’s going to pay off in dividends for your boss, the organization and you.
Tips for Managing Up
Here are 10 practical tips Jennifer offered to successfully manage up.
- Develop a Positive Relationship: This will build trust, which is the bond that holds everything together when you’re working with people. You do this by intentionally getting to know the people you work with, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and their work styles and pressures. By knowing them and liking them, they trust and confide in you.
- Embrace Their Mission & Support Their Success: Their mission is by default yours, so embrace it and work towards supporting that success. It will help them, and they’ll help you in return.
- Understand Their Goals, Objectives and Desired Outcomes: Naturally, in order to support their mission and their success, you must first understand them. This can be gained by talking to your boss about what their goals, objectives and desired outcomes are. Be sure that your actions are in alignment with them.
- Anticipate Their Needs: If you have developed a trusting relationship with your boss and understand their goals, objectives and desired outcomes, then you’ll be more attuned to knowing what they need, even before they need it.
- Never Blindside Them: If you have information, never withhold it, even if it’s bad news. There’s nothing worse than your boss feeling that they’re out of the loop.
- Do Your Job Well: This is a given, so excel and make sure your work is excellent. You probably have a lot to do, though, so prioritize to get the most important work done first and correctly.
- Advise Them How to Best Use Your Talents: Just because you have taken the time and made the effort to know your boss, don’t assume that they have too. Therefore, communicate what you’re good at and how you can be put to best use.
- Honor Your Boss’s Time: Remember, you’re not the only one on a tight schedule. If you need to speak with your boss, be realistic about the time they can give you, and keep it brief.
- Align with Their Goals: It’s not enough to know what their goals are; you must align your efforts to meet those goals and not work against them.
- Use a Collaborative Management Tool: This is a big one, because collaboration is the name of the game when you’re working in any organization. Collaboration tools offer visibility into the team’s work. They streamline operations, offer real-time reporting and metrics and set up a platform that fosters collaboration.
Pro-Tip: But what if your boss is a difficult person, are you stuck? Yes and no. There are ways to deal with personalities that are unpleasant. Have empathy and compassion. Don’t demonize, and remember to communicate. Ask what they need from you, then listen actively to understand. If you do these things, you’ll find in time that you might not love your boss, but you’ll both get along much better.
Today, we’re talking about 10 new tips for managing up. Well, in a previous video, we talked about managing your manager. But there’s new thinking and there’s new research on managing up. So it’s similar but different to managing your manager.
With managing up, it’s not about manipulating your boss or any of your superiors. And it really should be called “leading up,” because leaders can work with the strengths of anyone in the organization, up, down, and all around.
So let’s talk about why managing up is so important. Well, it’s mutually beneficial to you and your boss. Your boss needs you in order to get his or her job done. And you need your boss’s support or guidance to do your job more effectively.
And it’s a valuable skill to be able to know how to work with your boss, so you get the best result for both of you, for not only your boss, your organization, but also for you.
So let’s look at some tips. The first one is to develop a positive relationship and build trust and intentionally get to know them. So what are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? What are their work styles? And even the pressures they’re under.
So through that, you’ll be able to establish a relationship where you can know each other, you can like each other. And then, that’s where trust builds. And then, that’s when people can confide.
And number two, embrace their mission and support their success.
Number three, understand their goals, objectives, and desired outcomes for the organization.
And also, anticipate their needs.
Never blindside them. There’s nothing worse than being blindsided by new information or misinformation or something that they needed to know in advance.
And do your job well. There’s a thing in “The 7 Habits” about excellent work and being able to prioritize to be able to do your job well.
Also, advise them how to best utilize your talents. Because you have strengths, you have weaknesses, work styles, and you have pressures. So to be able to help guide them in how to leverage you more effectively is beneficial to them as well.
And honor your boss’s time. They’re on a time schedule, and sometimes people complain because they can’t get meetings with their bosses. It’s because they don’t honor the time. Maybe they asked for 15 minutes of time, but they end up being there for an hour. So the boss naturally thinks, “Well, I don’t have time to meet with them because a 15-minute meeting can turn into an hour.” So if you honor their time, then you’re best able to get meetings with them.
Also, align what you do with their goals.
And then, here is a big one, so I starred this one. Use collaborative project management tools. And this is where, in today’s time with the tools that we have, can really help make that relationship and build trust more effectively by allowing them to gain visibility into the team’s work and your work. Because what happens is they can’t see what’s going on.
Then, sometimes people have a tendency to, kind of, make up in their head what’s going on on the project. Sometimes that can be good and sometimes that can be bad. So we wanna avoid that.
And also, being able to streamline operations using the tool. So everybody can also have real-time reporting and metrics and get insights into what’s going on in the projects and make better decisions. And it just allows for better collaboration between the two of you, as well as other team members and stakeholders.
So if you need a tool to help you manage up, then sign up for our software now at ProjectManager.com.