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How To Manage Your Manager

Posted by | April 3, 2015 | Advice, Career, Coworker, Leadership, Workplace

Via LinkedIn : Managing your boss or ‘upward management’ as it’s often referred to, is one of those things almost all of us do but don’t realise we’re doing it. The secret is harnessing the power of upward management and using it to aid the development of your relationship and, essentially, control expectations centrally.

Being great at your job is half the battle, the other half falls down to managing your manager and creating a happy medium; a working relationship which allows you both to flourish.

To help you get the best out of your manager and illustrate your competence in the role, I’ve pulled together some key aspects of upward management that you can’t afford to ignore.

Never waste time – use it wisely!

If they’re anything like me, your boss’ diary is probably booked up for weeks. Time is precious and you don’t want to waste it. To avoid this, illustrate your efficiency by making sure you know everything you need to discuss with them – this is no time for vague objectives! Be sure to have as much information to hand as possible and have a well thought out, conclusive answer for any questions you may be asked.

One to one time is hard to come by so don’t waste it by going through your day to day tasks – you can do that via email. Gain their insight, use the time to gain valuable feedback. Talk to them about the problems you face and ask them directly how you they think you can do your job better. By doing this, you’ll not only gain an understanding of how they think you’re progressing in your role but you will also learn exactly how to add value in your role and you’ll be in a much better position to get a promotion, a pay rise, more responsibility and a more authentic relationship with your boss.

Never over-promise and under-deliver

This is the worst thing you can do. People always make the mistake of agreeing to everything and then rushing to get it all done last minute. This is just a breeding ground for mistakes. One main aspect of managing upwards is managing expectations. Never say yes, you can deliver something if, on reflection, you can’t. You may be thinking ‘but I can’t tell my manager no, I’ll just have to do it’ – 9 times out of 10 that’s not the case. If you have an issue with a project and you think it will take longer than expected, tell your boss! As long as you go to them with some other options, they will appreciate your honesty.

Never assume anything

Every one of my colleagues will tell you this is one of my favourites. I always remember meeting a new employee and she used this word in a sentence. I asked her to open her notebook and write in huge capital letters ‘NEVER ASSUME’ because the only mistakes I’ve ever made in life are when I have assumed something. Assuming always end badly. Safe to say she didn’t assume anything again!

If you catch yourself assuming something, to me that means you didn’t ask the right question in the first place. Always challenge yourself and seek answers, only then can you begin to really understand the concept.

Always be prepared

Preparation, preparation, preparation is always the golden rule. You always need to be fully prepared for any meeting with your boss because you can guarantee they will ask for or about the one thing you don’t have or know nothing about. When this happens, they will be disappointed, you will feel frustrated and despite all of the other good things that come from the meeting, your mistake will be what they remember most.

The secret is being in control without them knowing you’re in control. For example, if you know what they’re expecting, you can drive and steer the agenda to your advantage. Share your highlights of the week, approach each project optimistically and remember to come with solutions, not problems.

The killer question

Put yourself in your boss’ shoes and ask yourself: If they are still doing my job after hiring me, why am I still here? Of course they are there to show you the ropes in the beginning but you should be illustrating your competency by doing all of the above in your one to one meetings. Doing this will make the question, how effective am I in the job? An easy one to answer.

Remember that a healthy working relationship is a two way process. You’re not just there to be managed and if you make it look that way, your boss will get bored very quickly. Try implanting these tips in your next one to one and I’m certain you will notice a difference.

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