Managing Up

A lot of my clients seek coaching support around their relationship with their manager.  Issues arise, I find, usually because of lack of clarity around roles or expectations, an unclear or unarticulated vision, lack of trust or incongruence in styles.  My ‘go-to’ short read is ‘Managing Up’ (HBR : 20 minute manager series, 2014) – here are the top 10 tips on monitoring and enhancing your relationship with your manager.

Managing tips from an executive coach

Top tips

  1. Have I taken the primary responsibility for managing my relationship with my manager?
  2. Am I aware of my manager’s expectations for me? Are they realistic?
  3. Is my manager aware of what resources I need to meet those expectations?
  4. How much does my boss know about what I’ve been doing for the past few months? If they don’t know enough, how can I correct that?
  5. Am I reliably meeting my commitments? If not, how can I rectify shortcomings?
  6. How well do my manager and I get along on a daily basis? Do we need to address any conflicts?
  7. Do our oral and written interactions occur with ease?
  8. Do we trust each other? What can I do to increase the level of trust?
  9. Do I back up my boss when I talk to others about them and execute their goals?
  10. What could I do to support my manager more effectively?

Our vision is more obstructed by what we think we know then by our lack of knowledge.

— Kristen Stendhal

By default, by design… some tips on how you can manage up effectively…

  • Keep a watchful eye on your relationship.
  • Track your progress, say, every quarter… how many questions are answered positively or negatively?
  • If something isn’t working, talk to them.
  • Visualise what you want to get out of the discussion and how you will feel afterwards.
  • Frame your discussion – what do you want to say, how are you going to say it, when and where?
  • Keep what you want to say simple, elegant and robust.
  • Think about your manager’s world - as well as your own – catch them at the right moment!

Good luck!