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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Managing Up: Advice from Top Leaders on Managing Your Boss

    Posted by Jessica Bowers Hopson

    What To Do When "Managing A Team" Includes "Managing Your Boss" 


    Some people are perfectly content to float through life doing just enough to get by. They are also usually the ones that don’t stand out at work and only give the amount of effort required to keep their job. These people will never move up in their careers and they seem to be OK with that. If you find it difficult to understand why anyone would be happy with mediocrity in their job then you may be the type of person that would be open to the concept of “managing up”. 

    Managing up is one of the fastest ways to increase your value as an employee and asset to the company you work for. We’ve put a collection of advice together that will hopefully inspire and motivate you into integrating this concept into your everyday work life.

    Experts Share Managment Advice

    Stanley Bing

    Talk to your boss daily

    Writing under the name Stanley Bing for publications such as Fortune magazine and Esquire, Gil Schwartz is known for his humorous, yet accurate take on the business world. Below you’ll find his Top 10 Strategies for Managing Up that you can apply to your life in the office. 

    1. “Talk to the boss every day you can.” Make it a point to interact with your superior every chance that you get. This doesn’t mean you should hover around him or become a pest, just a quick greeting or goodbye is sufficient. 
    2. “Notice when he or she comes into the office.” This will bring attention to the fact that you’re there and present and all it takes is a hello every time they arrive for the day.
    3. “Wander by his or her office now and then.” As long as they welcome it, don’t be afraid to stop in for a cup of coffee every once in a while. 
    4. “Look for opportunities to make your manager’s life easier.” Always offer to help them with anything you are capable of doing yourself. They’ll appreciate the extra effort as well as the extra time it gives them to focus on other things. 
    5. “Never present a problem without also bringing along a couple of solutions.” They have enough problems to deal with. If you absolutely must approach them with a problem, make sure you offer solutions as well. 
    6. “Tell the boss the whole truth.” Even if it hurts, they’ll appreciate your honesty. Dishonesty will only hurt you down the road. 
    7. “Don’t whine.” No matter how bad it gets at work, you can’t let them know it bothers you. In fact, they’ll be impressed by the way you’re able to let negativity roll off your back while still getting your job done. 
    8. “Step up to the plate.” Anytime an opportunity comes up that you’re able to volunteer, do so. However, don’t take on anything that will keep you from doing your existing job. 
    9. “Show your appreciation.” Being a boss is often a difficult and thankless job. Let them know how much you appreciate the hard work they do every day. 
    10. “Share glory, but not blame.” If you do something well that your boss takes credit for, let them have it. Conversely, if the blame falls on your shoulders for something they did, accept it and move on. Your boss knows who deserves the glory and the blame, no matter what everyone else says. 

    Mariette Edwards

    This executive coach based in Atlanta offers up some advice that came from her own experiences. She says to make sure you’re aware of your superior’s style of managing so you’re able to customize your own actions accordingly. Ms. Edwards says, “If you and your manager seem to be speaking two different languages, then the problem may be that you are not leaning into that person’s style,” and that an analytical boss “will take exception to someone who presents an idea without data to support it,” while a “people person will be offended in the absence of regular communication.”

    Mike Myatt

    A writer for Forbes, Mike Myatt has a pretty blunt take on the whole “managing up” concept, he actually says “don’t”. However, this doesn’t mean he doesn’t see the benefits of managing up in your career, rather he says that it can be done incorrectly causing people to miss the whole point of the process altogether. He says that “When the practice of managing up gets confused with promotion of self-interest, brown-nosing, manipulation, the gymnastics of corporate climbing, or other mind games, a good theory rapidly becomes twisted resulting in a false and dangerous reality.” Be genuine in the practice and you will definitely reap the benefits.

    John Kotter and John Gabarro

    Learn to be effective in your job.

    In an article for Harvard Business Review, John Kotter and John Gabarro put quite a bit of emphasis on understanding your boss on a professional level and why it is so important. “Just think of the job and how to be effective in it. How do you get the resources you need, the information you need, the advice, even the permission to keep at it? The answers always point toward whoever has the power, the leverage – that is, the boss. To fail to make that relationship one of mutual respect and understanding is to miss a major factor in being effective.”

    Learn to Balance

    The key to managing up is developing the proper balance between working for yourself and working for your boss. You can’t let yourself become a doormat but you also need to remember that they are your boss for a reason. Once you’ve mastered this art, in time you’ll improve your value within the company you work for and become an asset those superiors just can’t live without.

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing