Managing up is one of the most important things that you must learn to do in your IT career.
To a large extent, the levels of management above you control your success and future at the company. If they like you, respect you, and think that you can help their careers, they will increase your responsibility, promote you, raise your pay and generally make your work life more pleasant.
Keep in mind, managing up effectively does not mean kissing someone’s backside, sucking up, brown-nosing or whatever other clichés you would like to use.
Effectively managing up is about the following:
• Communicating news, status, issues, successes, and needs to your manager
• Gaining the trust of your manager in regard to decision making, team leadership, task competency, and other related items
• When appropriate, standing your ground for an important cause, issue, team member need, or customer need
• Producing quality work
• Being responsive to all levels of management as requested or as business necessity requires
• Meeting your deadlines
It also means that if your boss needs a report by Friday, get it to him/her on Friday, or Thursday if you can. If you need additional resources, do your homework and clearly explain why you need them, how much it will cost, and its return on investment (i.e. better analysis, faster service, cost savings, etc.).
Managing up is also the art of using your boss to help you get things done.
Generally speaking, if you have good ideas that your boss likes, he/she will help you, if it is within his/her means to do so. After all, when you and your department do good things, it not only looks good for you, it looks good for your boss as well.
The next scenario when managing up is important, is when there are problems. The general rules are:
• Whenever you tell your boss about a problem, also suggest one or more potential solutions
• It is also acceptable to ask your boss for advice on how to handle a particular situation. After all, he/she has more experience than you.
• A good manager is also a good teacher and mentor, so seek his/her advice and learn
A strong relationship with your boss will not only help you get the resources and the recognition you may desire; it may also have a profound effect on the relationship and influence that you have with your peer managers.
If you have a good relationship with your boss, particularly if it is better than the relationship your boss has with your peers, it puts you in a very powerful position when dealing with your fellow managers.
Lastly, take great comfort in knowing that your boss is on your side. If he is the one that promoted you or hired you into the position, he will want you to succeed. After all, it was his decision that gave you your new job in the first place. As a result, your performance (good or bad) reflects on his/her decision-making ability.
The primary advice and takeaways from today’s post is to know the following:
• Develop an open, honest, supportive, and communicative relationship with your manager
• A strong working relationship with your boss can help further your career
• If your boss is the one who hired you or promoted you, he/she will want you to be successful because it reflects on his/her decision-making ability
Until next time, manage well, manage smart, and continue to grow. In the meantime, check out the Free Resources on our website. They include free monthly IT Manager-oriented webinars, eBooks, and more.