Management Coaching Blog

Manager Tip of the Week:  Managing Your Manager

February 17, 2016

When someone successfully transitions from an individual contributor role to a managerial role, one of the first ideas they must embrace is that their needs are no longer the most important.  The needs of direct reports become most important.  As successful managers can attest, the new job is to drive the outcomes while not actually doing the work themselves – but managing it through direct reports.

To successfully manage up, that is – sell an idea or influence any upward decision making, the same principle applies.  The needs of our manager should first be identified, acknowledged and supported.  Consistently helping our manager make their job easier shows that you care and will be remembered later on when you need their support.

Following are additional ways you can successfully manage up and increase your sphere of influence with your manager:

  • Learn to speak their language – Find out what’s most important to them and begin framing your messages in a way that describe the business impact on that point.  For example: If efficiency is most important to your manager, describe how your idea could impact efficiency in a positive way.
  • Provide feedback to their manager – When your manager helps you out of a difficult situation, mentors you on a new topic or simply teaches you something new – tell their boss about it.  They’ll appreciate you acknowledging their efforts and showing upper management the positive impact they’re having on the team.  It makes everyone look good!
  • Learn as much as you can about the company – Find out more about the company.  What are the current strategic goals?  What is the 3-year plan?  This demonstrates that you are interested in the “big picture” and you can then see how your role impacts the larger organization for maximum impact.
  • Jump in and help – If there is an emergency, drop what you are doing at the moment and offer your help.  Within the day-to-day, consider your manager’s weaknesses or struggles and offer to do this work for him or her.  For example, if your manager takes a long time to create a spreadsheet with formulas and tables and this is one of your strengths, offer to do it.

To learn more about managing up, down, or across, contact Manager Coach, Tom Figiel at or 312-914-1341 for a FREE consultation today!

> > Article originally appeared on the Tandem HR website < <

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