Blog
Jan 26

‘Managing Up’ or ‘Sucking Up’

Having a healthy, positive relationship with your boss makes your work life much easier — it’s also good for your job satisfaction and your career. But some managers don’t make it easy. Bad bosses are the stuff of legend. And too many managers are overextended, overwhelmed, or downright incompetent. Even if your boss has some serious shortcomings, it’s in your best interest, and it’s your responsibility, to make the relationship work.

To start, consider the type of manager you have. Many pose a unique set of challenges that require an equally unique set of skills to handle. Perhaps you’re dealing with:

  • A brand new boss, someone you’ve never met before.
  • A manager you don’t see face-to-face because he/she works in another location
  • An insecure boss (hint: it’s important to know how to tame his ego)
  • An all-knowing or indecisive boss
  • A manager who gives you conflicting messages
  • A long-winded boss
  • A hands-off boss
  • A manager who isn’t as smart as you
  • A boss that’s actually a board of directors

No matter what type of manager you have, there are some skills that are universally important. For example, you need to know how to anticipate your boss’s needs — a lesson we can all learn from the best executive assistants. You need to understand what makes your boss tick (and what ticks her off) if you want to get buy-in for your ideas. Problems will inevitably come up, but knowing the right way to bring a problem to your boss can help you navigate sticky situations.

There will, of course, be times when you disagree with your boss, and that’s OK — as long as you’ve learned to disagree in a respectful, productive way. Still, despite your best efforts to build a good relationship, there may come a time when you’ve lost your boss’s trust. It happens. And while it may take some diligent effort on your part, it is possible put the relationship back on track, even if you feel like your boss doesn’t like you.

And if you scoff at all the talk of bad bosses and think, “I have a great boss,” be careful. It’s possible to like your boss too much. And being friends with your manager can be equally tricky. You don’t want your boss to be your only advocate at work. You need to find ways to demonstrate your worth to those above her as well.

Perhaps the most important skill to master is figuring out how to be a genuine source of help — because managing up doesn’t mean sucking up. It means being the most effective employee you can be, creating value for your boss and your company. 

3 Comments

  1. sgarrett@peakperformancesalestraining.us
    15th April 2017 at 7:28 am · Reply

    Great Article, I will continue to look at your information as a valuable source!

  2. facebook@peakperformancesalestraining.us
    7th May 2017 at 2:26 pm · Reply

    Very well written and well thought out article!

  3. The Sales Training business is loaded with one liners and cliches. It is good to see someone who has a real grasp of the subject matter. Thank You

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