Managing “UP” requires that you manage to the expectations of your boss:
Know their priorities. Speak their language. Anticipate their needs. Be truthful and don’t BS them.
Contract properly at the end of a meeting.–Achim Nowak

How do you feel about the leadership skills you possess?  Would you rate yourself “average”, “above average”,  or maybe even “below average”?

When you rated yourself, which skills did you consider?  Did you limit it to those that impact the  interactions and relationships with your direct reports and perhaps your peers?  What we often forget to include is the critical relationship required with our boss.

In a prior tip, we shared the need to:

  1. Learn your boss’ communication style. – What level of detail do they prefer?
  2. Be proactive – share strengths and ideas and create an executable plan.
  3. Meet regularly – discuss progress against goals and areas for improvement.
  4. Ask for your boss’ opinion – Ask for their perspective on things.
  5. Go to your boss with solutions – ask for help when needed, but do your “homework”.
  6. Develop a power that makes you attractive – stay apprised of changes in your industry, understand your competitors, have a strong customer/business partner relationship. Be indispensable.
  7. Address problems – talk about your differences; remain fact based; keep your emotions in check.
  8. Play devil’s advocate – share your different perspective; say “Let me play devil’s advocate” and add new perspectives.

Nowak also suggests “appreciating UP“. Let your boss know that you appreciate him/her. Be authentic; provide genuine feedback. “Bosses rarely receive a word of praise or appreciation. From anyone. Yes, it’s lonely at the top, in more ways than one“.

In order to “Manage UP“, it’s up to us to build a strong relationship with our boss. We need to ensure our expectations are aligned, that we have a clear understanding of our organization’s vision, mission, and goals, that all of our behaviors support them, that we are committed to making a difference, and that we communicate the role we play!

Are there are any leadership relationship skills you’d like to enhance?

Managing up is about earning the trust and respect of your boss by working together with that person to create the best possible working relationship.
—Lisa Quast