Managing Up

Do you want to work on this relationship?

The person with the most impact to your career – other than yourself – is your boss. Yet, even expereinced professionals sometimes lose sight of this and forget the fundamentals. What does is take to build a better expereince between you and your manager? Three simple things.

  1. Accomplishments. It sounds funny to say it, but some people still don't understand that the key to a boss-subordinate relationship is getting things done, proactively, and well. The difference between average and excellence is this notion of proactive with quality. The relationship between a manager and their direct rests on this more than any other principle: can they count on you to do things well, and without having to have everything spelled out? So commit to being one of the very few ahead of the demand curve coupled with high quality and you'll see an immediate uptick in your relation.
  2. Communication. Yes, this old chestnut is back again and the reason is we still don't do it well. You recall some of the bromides – never surprise your boss, bad news unlike wine doesn't get better with age, etc., but do you practice them? Especially in a busy world with people on irregular schedules find a way to reach out and connect with your boss daily. Being accessible to your boss is a fundamental yet sometimes overlooked function because we get busy. We assume our boss knows how much we're working on things but in this relationship assumptions can be dangerous. Reach out and touch your boss (appropriately).
  3. Stretch yourself. You're good at what you do – that's why you're in your role. But have you stretched yourself lately? Every boss wants a solid performer, but they also want to see organic growth as opposed to force-feeding. Sure your boss delivers an annual review, and maybe some feedback along the way: but think of how much better the relationship can be if you do an honest self-assessment and stretch some under-developed skills. Nothing stays the same, so grow or shrink: it's your choice. Guess which one is better for career?

In the flatter more dynamic organizations of today we sometimes underestimate the impact of a good working relationship with our boss, yet the truth is we all have one, and we could all make this relationship better.

Put some energy into these fundamental elements and watch your relationship improve.



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