Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Overview of managing up, part of Managing Your Manager.
So far in your journey towards managerial excellence, we've talked a lot about how you can relate to your employees. But being an excellent leader doesn't end with your employees. There's an argument to be made that learning how to manage your boss is every bit as important as managing your team. By managing your boss, I'm specifically referring to intentional actions designed to help and persuade your boss in a manner that benefits them and you and your team. This is a form of persuasion, though I don't want you to think of it in a negative way at all.
It's a normal part of a professional relationship. And believe me, your boss is very likely good at managing upward to properly influence his or her superiors. And let's be clear, when I say managing up, I'm not saying you're supposed to look for preferential treatment or things you didn't earn. What you're looking for is the best possible relationship you can build. If you learn the things we'll discuss in this course, you'll figure out how to stay in the front of your boss's mind instead of getting lost in the clutter. You'll stay more informed about information and changes happening above you in the organization.
Hopefully, you'll become more useful to your boss and that very likely leads to increased opportunities for you. This is not about excessive ingratiating in any way. It's about figuring out how to understand your boss and how best to be helpful to your boss. Of course, managing your boss or managing up, as its often called, is different than managing your team. Usually, there's only one boss to manage as opposed to multiple employees. Not to mention, your boss has more power and status than you do, which is the opposite of the situation with your team.
They also have more responsibility in terms of both personnel and budgets. And remember, you don't understand their responsibilities, their world, as well as you understand your employees' world. So when you add all this up, it means that interacting with the boss in various ways in an attempt to manage them entails more risk compared to interacting with your team. So the first series learning point for this course is to slow down while consuming this content. And be very thoughtful as you create your own strategy for managing up.
Some of you might be thinking, well, okay, but if there's a little risk involved, why do I even want to bother? Why don't I just keep my head down and run my team? This brings me to the second big point. You do have control over what happens within your team. But the effect is local and can be underappreciated throughout the much larger system to which you belong. That's where your boss comes in. When managed correctly, your boss becomes an amazing catalyst. Not only will they provide you with direct assistance when needed, but they're also great at locating needed resources.
And when they're correctly connected with you and the team, they can be amazing advocates for you throughout the larger system. Knowing their motivations, understanding their challenges, having clarity about their expectations, knowing when and how to communicate with them. These are all things you can learn without too much effort. Think about it. Who's more important than your boss? When you think about your plans for hiring, changes to your work processes or nearly anything else. Who matters the most? Your boss. Why do people voluntarily leave jobs? Bad boss relationships.
Why do they stay with jobs forever and forego other opportunities? Great boss relationships. So you really don't have a choice. You've got to become an avid fan of managing up. The benefits far outweigh the small risks. Here's the good news. It's not that hard, and this course will make that clear. Soon enough, managing your manager won't feel like a contrived attempt to persuade. It will feel like a normal part of a healthy, two-way professional relationship.
- Learning your manager's world
- Understanding your manager's motivations and expectations
- Helping your manager make decisions
- Responding to feedback
- Documenting issues
- Working with new, remote, or inappropriate managers