What's 'Managing Up' And Why Should I Do It?

So, what’s “managing up” anyway? Basically, it’s when you “manage” your boss. Sounds weird, right? Actually, it’s one of the best things you can do for your career. Not only does it make your boss’s life easier, but it makes you a stand out employee. According to O’Donnell, the better you get to know your boss (his or her preferences, goals, etc), the better you can craft what you do each and every day at the office in order to create value. Now, here’s the most important question: how do you manage up effectively? “You have to understand and anticipate the needs of your boss,” said O’Donnell. The easiest way to do that is to ask. According to O’Donnell, you need to schedule a meeting with your boss and ask the following questions:


  • “What’s the best way for me to reach out to you when I encounter challenges?”
  • “What’s the best way to provide feedback to you?”
  • “How can I touch base with you on a regular basis so you know where I am on a particular project?”
“Start to build up that routine and that schedule so that your manager anticipates and expects these things from you,” said O’Donnell. “When you deliver, you’re building a level of trust and respect with your boss.” “You want exceed expectations,” said O’Donnell. “The more you know about your boss and what he or she wants to see from you, the better the chances you can do just a step beyond that and really anticipate and exceed what they need from you.” Managing up is going to help you build a level of respect and trust, and get you to a place where they’re thinking about you for special opportunities, even promotions.

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