How do I learn to manage up?
Managing up is about finding out...
How you can be the most valuable asset to your manager and company
How you can have the most impact
How you can be most effective in your job
Developing a strong relationship with your manager starts with building a relationship grounded in trust and consistency. Understanding your manager’s workstyle, motivations and priorities can help you become more intentional around showing your reliability, independence, and capabilities. This is ultimately what we mean by "managing up".
There's no one-size-fits all approach to managing up, but when you become intentional about your interactions with your manager, you can learn how to more effectively approach discussions, get buy-in, and rally your manager’s support in your career goals.
Consider what you can do to develop a stronger relationship with your manager today.
Step 1: Identify your manager’s workstyle and communication style. Take a moment to consider if you know how your manager likes to communicate. Do you know how your manager likes to set targets and goals? How do they prefer to follow up on the commitments you've made?
Read through this list of questions and consider what you want to ask your manager in your next 1x1 to manage up more effectively.
Pro Tip: “Perhaps the most important skill to master is figuring out how to be a genuine source of help — because managing up doesn’t mean sucking up.” (HBR)
Step 2: Be consistent. If you commit to work or set goals, give updates on your progress and show your manager that you're reliable and consistent. Let them know the value and accomplishments you intend to make and then show them you can do it....by, well, doing it!
Step 3: Advocate for yourself. Keep a record of your accomplishments and “toot your own horn” - you need to be able to speak for your wins and skills, otherwise, you might miss out on opportunities. List your most recent accomplishments and keep the list going moving forward.
Step 4: Bring your manager in on your career goals. Let them know how you value their support and mentorship and bring them in on the skills you are looking to develop.
What Everyone Should Know About Managing Up (HBR) - This article gives insight into why we should all be managing up, it also covers example situations.
Managing Up to Level Up (Marlow) - This article covers different scenarios and actions for each to help you build a strong manager relationship to manage up effectively.