Managing Up

September 25, 2017

Overbearing. Unavailable. Hypocritical. Micromanaging. Whatever you call them, a bad boss can ruin your day - and your career.  We have all have them. We all want to avoid them, if humanly possible. However, as we move further along our professional journey, sometimes running from the bad boss isn’t our best move. Perhaps you really like where you are working. Or maybe you depend on your annoying supervisor to help launch you to the next level. Maybe your boss isn’t really that bad. You just wish they would stop doing that one thing they keep doing that makes you bat crazy.

 

What if you could learn to get your boss to stop bugging while providing you will the resources you need to make it happen at the office? In today’s business climate the ability to Manage Up can mean the difference between career advancement and job burn out. Learning to coach your boss not only will save your sanity at work, it will help develop your own leadership abilities. “Managing Up” is a term used to describe a set of actions or behaviors that helps your superiors to provide you with the tools and mentorship you need to execute your job responsibilities. It’s more than just complaining or offering suggestions. Managing Up is a strategic method that supports your boss, while supporting yourself. 

 

 

How to Manage Up

 

The first step to Managing Up is to understand your own situation. What is it that you need to be successful? Are you lacking any abilities in a certain area? Are you willing to grow yourself? Spend some time focusing a little less on the nightmare of a manager and zone in on your strengths and weakness. Be willing to own everything that you are; the positive and negative.  

 

1. Be Willing to Ask for Help

 

It is not enough to complain that your boss keeps giving you a ton of work to do while they Snapchat it all day. You need to ask yourself, what do you need from your boss to get the job done? Maybe you need more face time with your supervisor, and you don’t mean FaceTime. Think about asking for some one-to-one mentorship or to attend a training. Be willing to accept the help.

 

2. Communicate like a Peer

 

Be willing to communicate with your supervisor like a boss. The person in charge is looking for resolution. They need a team that gets the job done. Instead of waiting until crisis time, show your superior that you are a mover and shaker and schedule some time to chat. A simple “Hey, it would be positive if we could set aside some time this Wednesday to go over the Tomson project.” 

 

3. Have the Answers

 

When you sit down for that Wednesday check-in, don’t be afraid to explain the problem and offer solutions.  Going down a list of excuses or reasons why you couldn’t finish your assignment isn’t going to work. Blaming your boss will probably get you fired. Explain where your limitations are and provide the feedback that fixes the problem. 

 

4. Avoid Limiting Language 

 

Instead of, “I’m struggling to fill the orders.” Say, “We have 115 order to fill over the next three days. I’m thinking of deprioritizing a few action items to make sure we meet our deadline. I’ll be able to tag the next projects on Monday. Do you think that will work?” 

 

5. Let Your Boss Fill in the Blanks

 

You goal all along was to get your boss to throw you a bone. Or at least clue in on some basics around the office – you’re good at what you do, but you can’t do everything. Let your boss offer feedback and problem solve with you. This allows them to understand what is working and what isn’t. Don’t argue, instead let your supervisor help you.  They are the boss after all.

 

6. Tell Your Boss What Works

 

Your manager is a person, just like you. They need praise as well. An, “I appreciate you helping me set up a timeline. It’s nice to have your support” goes a heck of long way. 

 

Coaching your boss will help you do your job better and set you up for success. 

 

 

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