A big piece of onboarding is the ability to manage up- how you effectively work with your immediate Manager. My experience in this area indicates that we don’t give this enough attention. The conflict that begins here usually ends up in one being asked to leave the organization or perhaps exiting too soon on their own.

Often, different styles, as well as egos, get in the way. Change the way you look at this relationship, and you will be more successful in building it. I haven’t come across many people who “manage up” t extremely well, and it’s such a necessary skill to one’s future success. Embracing the employee/manager relationship is a critical skill to hone and managing up helps you master it.

Managing up means that you go above and beyond the tasks outlined on your job description. You continuously go the extra mile. Your job is to make your immediate manager’s life easier.

Ways to effectively manage up:checklist
  • Listen well
  • Learn his/her style
  • Jump in when needed
  • Project a positive attitude
  • Deliver quality work
  • Keep him/her well-informed
  • Build key relationships
  • Sell/negotiate when appropriate
  • Recognize what he/she respects and honors
  • Create early wins
  • Execute great follow up
  • Establish a comfortable level of transparency
  • Establish the rules of effective pushback
  • When you have a challenge, always offer a solution
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate
  • Close information gaps
  • Have a voice beyond your boss
  • Keep commitments
  • Apologize when you are wrong
  • Don’t make excuses

Learning to effectively “manage up” can put you in a great position to align with your immediate supervisor, integrate effectively with the organizational culture, receive great recommendations, and ultimately help you on board effectively.

Author: Jim Wiederhold

Jim believes his 39 years of experience--particularly his more than 26 years in healthcare--has prepared him well for what he does. His wealth of experience spans key areas, including finance, operations, management, leadership, sales and sales management, corporate, contingency, contractual and retained recruiting, outplacement and transition work and executive coaching.