Managing up is all about proactively managing the relationship between you and your manager. It's about understanding their expectations and objectives and then taking steps to ensure that you are aligned with them.

What is managing up?

"Managing up" is a term that is often used in business circles, but what does it actually mean? And how can you do it effectively?

In a nutshell, "managing up" means proactively managing the relationship between you and your boss. It involves communicating effectively, setting clear expectations, and taking initiative to solve problems and remove roadblocks.

Why is it important to manage up?

A good relationship with your boss is essential to your success at work. It can turn would-be-battles into pleasant conversations. If your boss is happy with your performance, you're more likely to get promoted, receive raises and bonuses, and have an overall better experience at your job.

A common misconception

Some people use this term with a negative connotation. You have heard coworkers in the past claiming that their boss should simply “be better” or “do more,” mocking situations where they believe they've needed to “manage up,” but what “managing up” really means is taking responsibility for your half of the relationship between you and your boss.

Ultimately, their job is to make you as successful as possible in your role, so it's in your interest to help them help you.

Here are four key benefits of managing up:

  1. Improved communication

When you manage up, you proactively seek out opportunities to improve communication with your boss. This can include anything from setting up regular check-in meetings to ensuring that your boss is kept in the loop on important projects.

  1. Greater clarity

Another benefit of managing up is that it can help to create greater clarity around expectations and objectives. By proactively seeking out feedback and input from your boss, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that everyone knows what needs to be done.

  1. Better working relationships

Generally speaking, managing up can help to improve your working relationships. When you take the time to manage your relationship with your boss, you are effectively demonstrating that you are willing to invest in the relationship and that you value their input and feedback.

  1. Increased career opportunities

Finally, managing up can open up new career opportunities. When your boss sees that you are proactive and solution-oriented, they are more likely to consider you for new projects and opportunities. Additionally, a good working relationship with your boss can be essential for getting promoted or earning a raise.

While managing up can offer a number of benefits, it's important to remember that it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one person may not work for another. The key is to find what works for you and your boss and to be flexible in your approach.

So how can you manage up effectively? Here are a few tips:

  1. Communicate openly and frequently with your boss. Let them know what you're working on, how it's going, and if you need any help.
  2. Set clear expectations. Make sure you and your boss are on the same page about your goals and objectives.
  3. Take initiative. Don't wait for your boss to tell you what to do. If you see a problem that needs to be fixed or a goal that needs to be achieved, take action.
  4. Be a team player. Work collaboratively with your boss and colleagues to achieve common goals.
  5. Be positive. No one likes a Negative Nancy. Approach your work with a positive attitude, and your boss will take notice.

Managing up is not always easy, but it's important to remember that your relationship with your boss is a two-way street. If you put in the effort to manage up effectively, you'll be rewarded with a better work experience and greater career success.