Have you ever heard of “Managing Up”?

The relationship you have with your team (if you’re a business owner), or with your direct manager as an employee can truly shape your career – and your overall life satisfaction! I wanted to explore what managing up means in today’s Growth Hub, because I think it’s such an important concept. The more you’re willing to manage everyone you work with – whether they’re your superior or not – the more likely you’ll be able to build a career and a work/life balance you love.

If You’re an Employee

If you’re an employee or have a direct supervisor, it can be intimidating to start managing up in your work. Luckily, there are a few key steps to start these conversations in a comfortable, easy-going way:

  1. Have an open conversation about what you want. Your boss doesn’t know what you thinking! If you want to take on new responsibilities in your job or want to try something new – tell them. They’ll appreciate your honesty.
  2. Share your goals. What are you trying to accomplish in the next several years? Your boss or manager can help you to achieve those goals, and vocalizing them will help to show initiative, and guide them toward making decisions that benefit both of you.
  3. Realize you need to work on yourself. Part of managing up is working on yourself personally, and showing your dedication to growth to your boss and your colleagues. What kind of skills can you improve? You can grow confidence with different online programs and courses, improve speaking skills by enrolling in Toastmasters, ask for tools and resources from your workplace to improve sales skills or to go through a new education program. Stay committed to growth, and don’t be afraid to mention what you’re working on to your manager.

Finally, be creative!

If you have an idea, share it first – and then start working on it.  Speaking from leadership role today, I’m always open and interested to hear what thoughts and ideas they have so that we can work collectively together again to align our mission and vision to achieve a common goal.

In my personal experience, when I moved to California in 2011, we did not have an office location. We had no presence in the San Francisco Bay area. I told my boss that I wanted to move, and outlined my plan to grow our client base in California. Keep in mind, at the time I lived in the Maryland/DC area! My boss was surprised, but because I had a plan already put together when I presented my ideas to him – he was much more receptive and open to the new opportunity.

If You’re a Manager or Business Owner

Many women in the Kolective Network are business owners, or managers, themselves! So, how can someone who’s already in that role “manage up”?

Typically, when we talk about managing up, we think about how employees can offer guidance or “management” to their managers. However, I believe that managing up (when you’re already a manager) might mean managing your colleagues or your team in a new, elevated way. Here are a few ideas that I implement with my own team:

  1. Clearly state what the mission and vision of your business. Being crystal-clear in your values, and what you and your team are working toward, can help to make sure everyone’s on the same page and moving toward big-picture goals together.
  2. Lead with actions. Good leaders do not dictate, or give orders! Leadership means that you’re in the trenches with your team, working to achieve the goals you have in common. You might need to teach your team, but they’ll also be able to learn about your business’s values.
  3. Help set personal goals and specific targets. If an employee is trying to “manage up” by helping you to understand their unique goals, be receptive to that! Whether they have personal or professional goals, helping your team members or employees to set specific targets or key performance indicators to boost them toward their long-term vision for their own lives.
  4. Offer feedback, and be open to it! When your team offers you feedback, positive or negative, be open to it, and don’t be afraid to give direct feedback in return! Always be honest when talking to your employees, and don’t beat around the bush. The more straightforward and transparent everyone can be with one another, the better.

Do you have experience managing up? Let us know in the Kolective Facebook Community!

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