Becoming an expert at managing your boss can help you start climbing that corporate ladder and learning a few tricks about yourself along the way.
The Harvard Business Review defines managing up as “being the most effective employee you can be, creating value for your boss and your company.”
What’s obvious is strong work ethics and being a team player. But psychology is often involved. You need to understand your boss’s hidden verbal inferences and body language.
So, shed all your preconceived ideas about past or current bad managers and how they mishandle responsibility or staff and start pressing the right buttons and using your top-line managers as a springboard to your own career success.
Here are 7 ways to do it.
1. Communicate Clearly
Keep a long story short…and to the issues which are important to him/her.
Effective leaders will appreciate being informed on what’s happening in their organization. Should an issue escalate, it helps that they’re informed ahead of time.
Chances are your boss already knows the problems.
Don’t be afraid to ask your leader directly how he or she wants to be communicated with, things like ‘Do you want to be involved all the way through? We can update you on a daily basis, or we can have a status meeting every two weeks. What works for you? How much or little detail do you want to know?’”
2. Stay connected
Managing working relationships is harder when you are working remotely as you aren’t around each other all the time. Staying connected and having effective communication is arguably the most important factor then. Keeping them up-to-date and informed shows you are working hard and trying to achieve great things. Setting goals and achievements for the day and sharing these and your availability to do them is also very effective.
3. Anticipate needs
Anticipating the needs of your manager is key to understand your manager’s present priorities and try to get ahead in order to achieve those. Data analysis or actionable ideas that can make processes and communications more efficient for yourself and fellow employees are good examples.
“The better you understand your leaders, the easier your life will be, and the more successful you will be,” says Kim Strickland, a VP of finance for Walmart.
4. Show support
Managing up is about looking at the best qualities of your manager and finding ways to hone and expand them. Look for the good, don’t dwell on the bad.
Show a genuine interest in your manager’s general well-being and celebrate their victories.
You want to get to know your manager’s plans for their own career development because it gives you an opportunity to see how you can help them achieve that goal.
Help your manager overcome pressure by offering to help with some of the tasks they’re facing.
If he or she has gone out of their way to do something to help you, be sure to let them know that you appreciate it.
5. Be firm
If your boss tends to yell, criticize, or judge, seek to understand the meaning behind the criticism and diffuse the situation by listening first, validating what you hear, then asking for any clarification. Don’t cower. Instead, be proud of the work you’ve done.
6. Ask for deadlines
When you receive an assignment from a superior, you might feel the urge to rush around like a crazy person as you try to complete the project in record time. It can lead to unnecessary stress and the possibility of hastily made mistakes. Don’t be afraid to ask for a deadline. It will demonstrate that you’re organized and trying to plan your time. If you’re feeling overloaded and you know you can’t reasonably take on another project, there’s no harm in asking your boss how he or she wants you to prioritize things, or even asking for an extension on a deadline
7. Pay attention and ask questions
When someone is outlining a project for you, make sure you pay attention and ask any clarifying questions as soon as you can. If you say “no problem” to an assignment when you’re not entirely sure what it entails, odds are you might look foolish when you come back hours later without having made any progress.