Managing Up

How would you define this term? In my experience, I would define managing up as actions an employee takes to lead your boss towards success, makes his job easier, allowing for ease of business, and sometimes resulting in your success as well.

I continually managed up to my boss during my previous employment at a large consulting firm. When our team was small, he was very attentive to detail and the success of each employee. As my boss gained promotion after promotion, he had two sets of people to respond to – the partners and his employees. He became less organized and less connected. At that time, I took the opportunity to stay on top of the pack. I wanted him to continue to succeed and keep aware of my activities and me. Below are some of the techniques I used to keep him successful and his attention to our team as we continued to grow.

I always made it to our team meetings in person. I know people on the phone miss context and some of the conversation. I wanted him to always hear me very clearly.

I would set up monthly in person meetings with him. Not only was this a chance to communicate everything my team was doing, but he could also see me demonstrate my management style. I also would discuss problems with him and introduce potential solutions that I knew he would be willing to implement. This allowed his thought process to be cut in half since he only needed to decide on a solution I presented rather than think of a solution himself.

I would volunteer and help organize his schedule. If he was coming to my client site, I made sure to be the one to greet him and help him navigate around the office. Again, this was a great opportunity for him to see me in action, and also made his day much easier.

Overall, the skill of managing up is critical. During this time of shrinking budgets and a less than positive job outlook, each person must do what he/she can to ease the workload on one’s boss and stand out from the pack.

Good luck!