Tips for Managing up
You’ve read many articles on how to manage subordinates. Tips for delegation, communication, and other work-related issues. But how many articles have you read about managing up – about how to improve your relationship with your supervisor?
The people to whom we report have a big influence on our careers and work experience. Yet few consider the benefits of improving their working relationship with their boss or supervisor. Whether you report to one person or several, managing up can help you move ahead and get more done at work.
Tips for Managing the Managers
Everyone has a manager. Even your organization’s CEO reports to a Board of Directors or others who have a say in his or her work. You may have chosen to work with your current supervisor or the reporting lines may have changed since your initial start date. No matter the reason why you currently work for the supervisor that you have, all relationships can benefit from applying these tips.
Improving communications with your supervisor(s) means trusting them with both the good and the bad news. Subordinates often try to shield their bosses from unpleasant news. This can boomerang on you, however, because your supervisor may find out and be blindsided by key information you could have, and should have, shared.
Learn how to trust your supervisor. Share information that will help supervisors do a better job. Rely on facts, not assumptions or feelings, to inform your conversations.
In addition to spoken communications, discuss with your supervisor how often he or she prefers to receive communication via emails. Some supervisors like to be copied on everything; even if they don’t comment on an email, it helps them stay on top of all of the work that’s going on. Others want just the topline summary. Confirm first, and adjust your communication style to be helpful to your supervisor.
Share details about your personal life, ambitions, and goals judiciously. Yes, your supervisor needs to know that you have your eye on the CFO chair someday, but they don’t need to know every detail of your personal life story. Your supervisor is probably very busy and doesn’t have time for a lot of personal chatter. As you get to know them better, you may find a working relationship that turns into a true friendship. At that point, the rules surrounding sharing change, but for the most part, keep your conversations focused on work with an eye towards shared business goals.
Work as a team
Lastly, work as a team. Support your supervisor. Don’t fight against their requirements, requests or direction. Be supportive, and always maintain a positive outlook. Keep good working relationships with everyone in your department as well as with your supervisor for the best outcome for all.
A Good Worker and a Good Manager Share Similar Traits
Good managers, like good workers, listen, prioritize, share judiciously, and feel as one of the team rather than in competition with their subordinates. This approach adds a positive spin to every interaction in your department and leads to productive, harmonious relationships at work. Give it a try and see how well it works!
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