Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Managing up

We have all heard the term 'manage up'. When I first heard it, I had no idea what it really meant. I thought it meant brown-nosing. Basically, I thought if you were 'managing up' you were 'kissing up'. In one annual review many years back, I had a boss tell me I needed to learn how to 'manage up'. I was perplexed. I got my job done, and done well. My peers, employees and even my boss' boss were very happy with me. What did she mean by 'manage up'? Rather than leave the review in the dark, I simply asked her what she meant. My boss wanted me to give her daily updates on what I have been doing, what issues I encountered, any news I heard about, and how I solved problems. Although I was doing my job, she felt out of the loop. That was an easy problem to solve once I knew more about what she wanted.

I have also seen the opposite problem though. I once had an employee that came to me with every small dilemma he encountered in a day. This wasn't an assistant or associate. This is someone who had been working for quite a while. I wanted him to 'manage up' by making his own decisions and solving his own problems. I would be there for the big stuff when he needed me. It turns out his previous boss wanted involvement in the minutia. Once we had the conversation about what my expectations were and how I trusted him, the behavior changed. He started to 'manage up'.

What does it mean to manage up with your boss? How can you be sure that you are managing up? What does your leader need or want from you? What conversations have you had with your leader surrounding expectations? How can you balance 'managing up' with getting your job done? How can 'managing up' improve your daily work life? Who can help you 'manage up'?

Learn more about the fashion industry from Career Coach Kate Kibler at

No comments:

Post a Comment