As we spend most of our waking hours at work, it’s important to have a mutually rewarding relationship with your manager!
If you have a tumultuous relationship with your boss, it can make that time at work arduous and stressful. Managers have a lot of control over your day-to-day happiness and long term career growth. This is why it is important to ‘manage your manager’ – all this means is building a relationship with them where they advocate for you, think highly of you, and actively seek to advance your career.
Learning how to manage up seems like one of the hardest things to do in our careers, but it isn’t complicated, and it may be that what we require in order for to make the most out of these relationships is clever habits and skills.
So, what can we do to do it better? Read on!
Communication is key
People have a wide range of communication styles and a range of preferred communication channels. For example, many people like to talk face to face, while others much prefer communicating via email.
It is important to observe and respect how others communicate. If your manager writes concise, deliberate and thought-out emails, respond in kind with concise emails. If they are more likely to have lengthy face to face conversations and brainstorming sessions, arrange those.
These preferences are very important – the more the way you communicate reflects with the natural preference of your manager, the better they will understand and process what you are attempting to communicate.
Consistency is key
Touching base at least once a week will make it clearer just what they are expecting from you and how you are doing in these areas and will help ensure you are doing the correct things to succeed in the goals you have been set.
This will also project your enthusiasm for your work and reliability as an employee – vital components that your manager will be assessing in your overall performance. It helps to keep these at the forefront of your managers’ mind by behaving in a forward-thinking and goal-oriented manner.
Lasting, visible performance
This seems extremely obvious but is particularly important to successfully managing your relationship with your manager! If you aren’t performing above average, it is almost impossible to succeed in this regard.
Advancement requires more than a good personality and strong work ethic – it is important to have a clear track record of success. If you are struggling with this, it is up to you to seek training and improve yourself.
Be aware of expectations
The big picture is also very important – you have to know not only your own position within the department but also that of your manager and the expectations that need to be met by your particular department. Their expectations of you are directly influenced by the companies’ expectation of them.
Being aware of these expectations influences your performance and the success of your work (being able to operate as a multi-faceted, big picture problem solver), and will show that you have a lot of business savvy. This heightens your manager’s opinion of you as a strategic asset and will directly influence their motivations for helping you advance.
Make them aware of your aspirations
To advance, you have to be your greatest advocate. The whole reason you want to manage your relationship with your manager is so that you can become the professional you want to be. It is important to every so often make your manager aware of your long-term goals – ideally every couple of months.
This could be a variety of things based on your role and where you want to be and is an important means of achieving these goals. You can’t assume your boss knows what your aspirations are, and the only way of making them aware is by telling them where you want to be headed.
Intertwined with all of these steps is one fundamental concept – communication. The more effectively you communicate with your manager, the better you know their expectations of you and what traits exactly they are judging you on – but also how well you are doing in the areas, and where you have to improve. They will also have a much better idea of where you want to go in your career and will have a better idea of how to get you there.
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