Managing up 101: How and when to take initiative at work

Your supervisor keeps pushing off your latest check-in, but you could really use his or her feedback on a few projects. You’ve identified some areas for innovation and would like to run them by your manager before you put your new ideas in motion. You think shifting your schedule around and reordering your projects is the best course of action.Hopefully, in any of these situations, you realize that you need to do two things — get on your boss’ calendar and then lead a discussion about the realities (and potentialities) of your workload. In other words, you need to “manage up.”What is managing up?Managing up refers to the process of using initiative and communication to lighten your boss’ workload. Said a different way, it’s about supporting your supervisor’s efforts and goals by identifying and sharing ideas for growth. In The Wall Street Journal article “What it Means to Manage Up,” Elizabeth Garone shares an explanation from expert Rosanne Badowski (who literally wrote the book on managing up). She describes it as: “…stretch[ing] yourself. You need to go above and beyond the tasks assigned to you so that you can enhance your manager’s work. You need to go above and beyond the tasks assigned to you so that you can enhance your manager’s work.”The fundamentals stay the same, but in practice, managing up will vary from employee to employee. For example, taking initiative could mean signing up for additional responsibilities, researching new methodologies, connecting with influential contacts, or setting up additional meetings with your supervisor. A shift in communication could occur via a change in frequency (i.e., asking to check in more — or less — often), or by adopting a new tone or approach. As such, if you’re taking on more work and interacting with your boss more effectively, you’re lightening his load (both insofar as the overall task-list, as well as his role overseeing your work).

Source: Managing up 101: How and when to take initiative at work

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