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Managing Up: What Does It Mean and Why It's Important

As someone who wants to move up in their career, you need to know how to manage up. What does that mean?
In any workplace, the most successful leaders are those that have mastered the art of managing up. It is also an essential leadership skill for anyone in a position - no matter how small the team may be.
Let's jump ahead to find out more about the following:
  • What is managing up?
  • The benefits of managing up
  • How to manage up effectively
So, read on for all the details!

What Does It Mean to Manage Up?

If you're in the workplace, there's a good chance you've heard the term "managing up." It's a term that gets thrown around a lot, but it's actually quite simple.
Simply put, managing up is a skill that every employee should develop. That means taking charge when necessary, being an inspiring leader, and making sure that you're on the same page with your boss. It also means knowing when to let others take the lead.
Managing up can be challenging, but it's important to remember that it's a two-way street. Just as you are responsible for managing the working relationship, your boss is also responsible for managing their side of the relationship. In short, managing up is all about being the best possible leader you can be.
So next time you're feeling lost at work, remember: managing up is the key to success.

The Benefits of Managing Up for Both Leaders and Employees

In today's business climate, having a well-run workplace is more important than ever. That means creating a supportive culture where the boss, leaders, and employees feel valued.
Let's take a closer look at why managing up is so important.

Increased Productivity

Leaders and employees are more likely to be productive when they feel they are being managed well. This is because they feel appreciated and valued and know that their work is important to the team's success.
Furthermore, when leaders and employees are on the same page, it's easier to get work done efficiently and effectively. This will give you job satisfaction.

Improved Communication

Effective communication is vital for any team to function properly.
When you take the time to understand the communication style of each individual on your team, you can tailor your message to better suit their needs. As a result, your team will not only be more receptive to your communication, but they'll also be more likely to understand and remember what you're saying.
In other words, managing both leaders and employees can help reduce miscommunications, which can lead to a more effective and productive team overall.

A More Positive Work Environment

No one likes working in a toxic environment with constant conflict and miscommunication. When leaders focus on creating a positive work environment for their team, employees end up being happier overall. Happier employees lead to more positive work culture and improved morale.
At its core, managing both leaders and employees means creating an environment where everyone can succeed. This management style takes into account the fact that people are individuals with different strengths, weaknesses, goals, and motivations.

Key Skills You Need for Managing Up

Many people think that to be an effective leader, you must be able to manage effectively. While this is true to an extent, it's also important to be able to manage up. In fact, many of the leadership skills you need to manage up are the same as those when managing down. These include:
  • Communication
  • Active listening
  • Positive relationship building
  • Time management
  • Organization skills
  • Giving feedback
  • Conflict resolution
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving skills

How Can You Start Managing Up?

Most people only think about managing up when they're considering a job change – but it's something that should be on your mind all the time. Managing up is all about taking control of your career. Also, it's making the most of the opportunities you have.
If you're not sure where to start managing up, don't worry—we've got you covered. Here are essential traits for great managers that you can apply:

1. They're proactive, not reactive.

Great managers are always thinking ahead, anticipating problems before they arise, and devising solutions that will keep their team on track and moving forward. They don't wait for things to go wrong before taking action; they're always one step ahead.

2. They build strong relationships.

Strong relationships are essential for any manager, but they're especially important when you're managing up. Your relationship with your boss should be built on trust, respect, and mutual understanding.
By developing a great working relationship with your boss, you'll be able to have more open and honest conversations about your team's goals, challenges, and successes.

3. They communicate effectively.

Communication is key in any managerial role, but it's especially important when you're managing up. You must clearly articulate your team's needs and objectives to your boss and other managers.
As a result, it will make your job and your manager's job easier. Remember, effective communication is a two-way street; it's just as important to listen as it is to speak.

4. They're confident, not arrogant.

Managers need to exude confidence, but there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance. When the boss manages arrogantly, they come across as pushy and self-centered; they're more concerned with getting their way than with what's best for their team.
On the other hand, confident managers are assertive without being overbearing; they know when to listen and also to speak up. Most importantly, they always have their team's best interests at heart.

5. They're a team player.

No one likes working with someone who's constantly trying to steal credit or take shortcuts.
To be successful at managing, you must be a team player. That means being willing and able to work with other people, even if you don't necessarily agree with them all the time. It also means being willing to put in the extra effort when it's needed.

6. They're decisive.

Great managers are able to make quick, informed decisions when necessary and trust their team to execute those decisions flawlessly. If you find yourself second-guessing your boss's decisions, it might be time to have a conversation about why you disagree.
By respectfully sharing your opinion, you might help your own boss see the situation in a new light—and help the team avoid potential pitfalls down the road.

7. They have strong emotional intelligence.

A great manager understands not only her own emotions but also the emotions of her team members and how those emotions can impact work performance.
If you get upset with your boss over something small, take a step back and ask yourself whether the issue is worth getting worked up about. More often than not, it's not—and getting emotional will only make the situation worse.

8. They give credit where credit is due—and take responsibility when things go wrong.

A great manager knows that her team is only as strong as her weakest link—and she's not afraid to admit when she's made a mistake. On the flip side, she also knows how to praise her team members when they've done something right and publicly acknowledge their contributions to the company's success.

9. They're always learning.

The best managers are lifelong learners who are constantly looking for ways to improve their skill set—and their team's performance.
If you're not already doing so, start reading industry-related blogs, listening to podcasts, and even attending leadership development training. And this is where Nils Vinje from B2B Leaders Academy can help!

Get to Know More About Nils Vinje

As the founder of B2B Leaders Academy, Nils has grown a team of busy professionals dedicated to becoming leaders. As such, his insights into the ever-changing landscape of career development and leadership are valuable for everyone.
If you want to save time, get promoted, and inspire your team through the growth and development of leadership skills, here's what you can get with the B2B Leaders Academy:
  • On-demand leadership training
  • Weekly small-group leadership masterminds
  • Your leadership scorecard
  • Your leadership development plan every 30 days
  • Workbooks, exercises, and much, much, more
As a member of the academy, you'll have the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals and learn from the best in leadership. With an ever-growing library of resources, the B2B Leaders Academy is dedicated to helping you succeed in your career.

10. They lead by example.

Last but not least, actions speak louder than words. Employees who want your team to respect managers need to lead by example. That means being punctual, professional, and respectful at all times.
Like managing up, it means owning up to your mistakes instead of blaming others. Setting the right example will motivate others to do the same.

The Don'ts When You're Managing Up

Chances are, you've had a boss or been in a situation where you've had to manage up. It can be a delicate balance, and if not done correctly, it can result in a lot of negative repercussions.
Here's what to NOT do when you're managing up.

Don't undermine your boss's authority.

One surefire way to lose your boss's trust is by undermining their authority. This includes going around them to get things done, taking credit for their work, or talking behind their back. If you want to be successful when managing, it's important to always show your boss the utmost respect.

Don't be passive-aggressive.

Passive-aggressive behavior is never going to get you what you want. If you have an issue with your boss or a coworker, it's important to address it head-on in a respectful way. So, instead of being passive-aggressive, have those difficult conversations and work towards solutions together.

Don't take things personally.

Your superior is not out to get you, so don't take things personally when they give you constructive criticism or a direct report on the area of improvement. It's important to remember that they're just trying to help you be the best version. So, as an inspiring leader, you need to take their feedback in stride and use it to improve your performance.

Don't be too informal.

Just because you have a good relationship with your boss doesn't mean that you should let your guard down and be too informal with them. Remember that they are still your superior and should be treated as such.
If you want to hone your skills, avoid things like using nicknames or getting too comfortable in their presence. Doing so will only make it harder for them to take you seriously and could damage your professional reputation.

Wrap Up

Managing up is an important skill for anyone in a leadership position. When you manage effectively, you position yourself as a leader within your organization and set yourself up for future success.
If you aim to grow your leadership skills, get everything in the B2B Leaders Academy. Remember, happy employees lead to effective leaders.
It's a win-win situation for everyone!
© 2023 B2B Leaders Academy. All Rights Reserved.
© 2023 B2B Leaders Academy. All Rights Reserved.