How to Manage Your Manager

Management is not a unilateral relationship. Although, in some cases it certainly does appear to be the case. Here are three tips that will help you to make sure that you are managing your superiors as much as they are managing you. When executed properly, “managing up” is beneficial to you, your superior and the organization in general.

1. Be very clear about the requirements of your time

Your manager will assign you tasks until you tell him or her to stop. However, the culture in my most organizations subtilely suggests that if you were to do so it would be career suicide. It is important that you are clear with your manager the impact that assignment of additional projects may have on the quality of your existing projects.

If you present your manager with a clear outline of where your efforts are invested and ask for clarification of priorities you may actually gain more respect in the process.

2. Set expectations in a concrete manner

If you have a meeting with your boss follow it up with a verbal summation of next steps. Then put those action points in an email. This technique may sound anal but it will ultimately prevent a misunderstanding, give both of you a reference point, and reduce double-work.

3. Follow Up

Most managers have their own problems to worry about to care too much about you. Although, they are paid to “manage” their team members often times they are too concerned about meeting the needs of their own managers. Therefore, it is crucial to politely remind your manager of commitments, projects that need attention, or bottlenecks in productivity that cannot move forward without their input. Ultimately, they will thank you for keeping them on task and your proaction will be evident in your team’s success.

It is your responsibility to manager your manager not the other way around. Sounds pardoxical right? It is. And those who are successful know this fact. Do you manage your manager? If so, what techniques do you use?

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