You know that a bad boss is bad for you. A good way to keep a boss from going bad in the first place is to get a handle on their expectations and manage them while they manage you.
Photo by Goodluz (Shutterstock).
“Managing up” is easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. The real key is to learn your boss’s preferred communication style, how frequently they want to be updated on your priorities, and how to communicate those priorities with them. In many cases, it starts with just asking them when the best time to check in with them is. When you get to talk to them on their time, you build a relationship that will help you be successful at the things you were actually hired to do. Career blog HR Bartender offers these examples:
One of my bosses was very difficult to schedule time with. She was busy all the time. The best time to speak with her was when she was driving home. If I tried to bring ideas to her in the middle of the day, she would be distracted and I typically didn’t get the attention I was looking for. So I started staying a few minutes later at the end of the day. I would ask her to call me on her drive home. We got to talk. Really talk. And the time was valuable.
Another boss was the opposite; he would come in very early in the morning. And he liked Starbucks. Every morning he would walk by managers’ offices looking for someone to go with him to Starbucks. My colleagues wouldn’t think of coming in early. Me? I got myself up at zero dark 30 for coffee. Why? Because I got quality time with my boss.
They go on to note that some bosses don’t want to chat with you, and prefer your ideas and communications in writing. That can teach you to be succinct and brief so they get the updates they want, you get them off your back, and you have more time to work on the important things without worrying if they’d rather you work on something else.
The term “managing up” is often misconstrued, but it really comes down to learning to communicate with your manager in a way so they have always the information they need. As you develop a better relationship with your boss, you won’t quibble on priorities or how you spend your time, because you’ll already be agreed on them.
Learn How to Manage Up [HR Bartender]