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“Managing Up” to Advance Your Career

At some point or another, we’ve all wished our manager would change. However, instead of expecting the boss to alter their management style, we must master the art of managing up. Learning – and mirroring – your boss’s style is an effective strategy for dealing with a manager whose approach to work differs from your own.

Often, managers who are skilled at training and motivating their staff tend to ignore opportunities to develop strong relationships with their own bosses. This mistake can mean the difference between career advancement and career suicide. Fortunately, there are simple, practical things you can do today to improve your relationship with your boss and begin managing your career in a whole new way – up!

Mirror your manager’s style

Keep in mind that the only person whose behavior you truly have control over is you. That’s why it’s critical for you to take the initiative here. Begin by learning everything you can about your boss’s management style. Observe your boss. How do they prefer to receive information? Is he or she an “idea” person or a “results” person? How important is the bottom-line to your manager? Answering these questions is the first step towards successfully managing up. Incorporating what you’ve learned into your work style and how you interact with your boss will help you take your career to the next level.

Micromanage your micromanager

Once you’ve identified your boss’s preferences, put your information to good use. Remember that communicating on your manager’s level is vital. If your boss is one of those people who give new meaning to the term “being kept in the loop,” do them – and yourself – a huge favor: keep them in the loop. Determine which projects your manager considers to be key, then provide frequent updates on the status of those projects. Also, be sure to present information in the manner your boss likes to hear it.

Make yourself invaluable

Find your niche and develop it until you are an expert in that particular area. But don’t let that stop you from growing your talents in other areas at the same time. Remember, the broader your range of expertise, the more valuable you are to the team – and to your manager. So, be sure to volunteer for projects – especially the less-popular assignments. By demonstrating that you’re a true member of the team who consistently works in support of the company’s goals, you boost your own visibility and make yourself indispensable.

Talk the talk, then walk the walk

Keeping in step with your manager is a crucial element in successfully managing up, so solicit feedback often. Scheduling feedback meetings with your boss on a regular basis helps keep her in the loop regarding your professional development. Likewise, effectively applying any information you’ve gleaned from your manager during the meeting shows that their words have an impact.

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