I’ve changed jobs every single year because of the nature of political campaigns. When I got into non-profits, I was able to have managers a bit longer because my job didn’t end on November 5th. Let’s just say that I’ve definitely had my fair share of managers. One time, I even had 4 managers, which was (to be honest) a bit of a disaster. Throughout that process, I learned how to manage my managers (interesting concept right?)
I’ve been to multiple management center trainings and definitely have been to more than 3 multiple day trainings that I attended in Oregon, Seattle and even Washington DC. Regardless of how many I go to, they always talk about managing up. It is what it sounds like – it’s a way you manage your superiors (hence, managing UP).
So why should you manage your manager? TRUST ME. It will help you get clarity on your work, confront the manager’s mistakes without awkward silences, and even earn brownie points.
Here are the top three ways I’ve learned to manage up:
- Summarize your meetings: Either verbally or in a written form, you should always summarize your meetings because it helps organize not only what’s on your plate, but it clarifies what you both have agreed upon. It’s important to have clear communication, especially if you feel like you are drowning in your work. This is also a great time for you to ask if certain things are a priority. If there is a project that just came up, then maybe it’s important to do that project before the other one. You won’t know until you ask.
- Ask for Deadlines: This will not only help YOU, but it will force your manager to prioritize what’s more important to them. Simply put, it’s a powerful way to check the priority list with your manager without revealing that you don’t know what’s more important. (Tip: if you are a “go above and beyond” type of a person, then you can go above and beyond on the things that the manager thinks is important rather than spending 3 hours researching something that’s just a “side question” of a project. Focus on what’s important.)
- Don’t be Scared to do Your Job: Ask questions so you can do your job better. In some settings (esp. When I had 4 bosses), I was scared to ask whose priority was more important. They all worked on a team, so they knew what was more important. I wasn’t confident because I was still the new girl and navigating the team. A simple question about deadlines would have helped me, but I was too scared to ask the question because I had anxiety about the answer. I thought, “Will they think I’m incompetent if I ask this question? Am I so not in sync with the team that I have to ask this question?” Throw those insecurities away! The end goal is to do a good job on your work, and if this is going to help you do that, make sure to ask the questions that will get you results.
Are there other ways you have managed your manager? Leave it in the comments below!
Edited by: Samantha Yazzie