What is managing up?

Managing up is the concept of managing your manager. From providing continuous feedback to proactively sharing metrics or updates that they would otherwise ask for, managing up will help build a better relationship between you and your manager.

3 ways you can manage up:

Take the time to learn your boss’s management style

How hands-on are they? How do they like to communicate?

If they like to run daily scrums, come prepared to share what you’re working on every day. If they’re someone who only wants to be involved at the planning stage of a project and let you run with the rest, be proactive and involve them at that stage.

Come with solutions, not problems

Things are going to go wrong, it’s inevitable. But, how you bring up those problems to your manager will have an effect on your relationship. If you’re consistently bringing up problems without any solutions (even if they’re not the best ones), you’re creating more work for them and ultimately hindering your own growth.

Take the time to think of possible solutions, that way when you present problems with solutions to your manager, you’re working collaboratively to think of the best way to solve it. As an added bonus, you’ll be improving your own problem-solving skills!

Give and ask for feedback

You want to continue to grow and improve and so does your manager. Continuously sharing feedback with one another is a great way to do that.

When providing feedback to your manager:

  • Learn about your manager likes to receive feedback (written, verbal, etc)
  • Ask, “What are you looking for feedback on?”
  • Document the feedback after it’s been given
  • Document next steps on how this feedback will be actioned (it can be as simple as your manager needing a week to think about the feedback)

When asking for feedback:

  • Be specific in your ask. Instead of asking, “How can I improve?” try asking, “How can I improve my communication with the team?”
  • Show that you’re acting on the feedback. If your manager shares that they feel you’re inconsistent with adding scrum notes and you agree, work on being more consistent.

Additional resources for managing up

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