Managing Up: What It Means and How to Do It

Nearly everyone reports to a higher-up, whether that’s a manager or an executive at your organization. The assumption is that the manager is in charge, and employees follow suit. While this is standard, if you’re striving to get ahead in your career, it may be time to adopt a manage-up philosophy.

What Is Managing Up?

Simply put, managing up is replicating all the best traits of a good leader and implementing them as a contributing staff member. In other words, managing up demonstrates initiative, strong leadership abilities, and strong organizational skills. So how exactly do you manage up? Here are a few tips.

Anticipate Needs

Rather than waiting for your next assignment, think ahead and anticipate what your boss or manager is going to need. More often than not, workplaces function on patterns, which means it can be easy to determine upcoming projects or priorities. While there will be occasions when you need to wait for the go-ahead to start a project, your ability to get the ball rolling will likely reflect positively on you.

Stay Organized

When it comes to organization, most people think only of their personal organization tactics. But when your responsibilities extend beyond your desk, organization is key to keeping everything on track.

For instance, if you forget about a project once you pass it off to your manager or another colleague, the odds of it falling through the cracks increase. Instead, ensure you and your superiors have an open line of communication. When a task gets handed off, don’t consider it complete until it’s actually finished – so keep an eye on it!

Consider Their Workload

Most of us have complained about our workloads at one point or another. But as you move up the hierarchical chain of an organization, your list of responsibilities only increases. For that reason, consider your manager’s workload just as frequently as you consider your own. Is there anything you can take off their plate? Are you holding up any larger projects for them? Take initiative and do what you can to assist them.

Keep in mind: If you offer to take on more responsibilities but aren’t sure you can deliver in time, you’re doing yourself more harm than good. Be realistic about how much additional work your schedule can handle.

Effectively managing up is easier said than done, as it requires more work and dedication. With the right company, that effort might be paid back tenfold.

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