Managing Up – Part II

Actionable Tips to help Supervisors Manage Up


  • Get to know your manager. How does she work with her employees? What is important to her at work? What are her strengths and challenges as you see them? How does she work best? Who does she work best with? What is her work style? How does she receive information best (written, verbal)? What doesn’t get results?


  • Meetings with your manager will count if you go in with information that will help your manager best receive it, process it, and discuss it. Remember, you are trying to get your manager to see your point of view. Present it so he gets it.


  • Your meetings will be effective if you have an agenda and topics prepared.


  • Be succinct. I like to talk, but I learned quickly that most managers do not want to spend a long time hearing all the extenuating circumstances and anything else you want to get off your chest. Get to the meat quickly.


  • Know what you want to gain from the meeting. You need to go to your meeting with specific objectives in mind. Articulate them clearly and provide information supporting your request. It’s not a good idea to just go in and ask for more staff and expect that to happen. Why do you need more staff? Where are the problem areas? What are you doing to deal with?


  • Come prepared with solutions. Managers hear about problems all day. If you bring some solutions for discussion, you move the discussion forward and gain your manager’s respect at the same time.


  • A favorite phrase of mine is: “I need some guidance from you.” I do. How else will I get to know what my manager wants if I don’t ask for guidance – another way to put this is, “How do you see this happening?” Many of the supervisors I coach think there is a weakness in asking for help. That’s not so. Don’t you like to be asked for guidance or help sometimes? You don’t need help every day but you can use some help or guidance on certain issues. These should be interactive discussions. You present the problem or issue, ask questions, provide some solutions, and ask for guidance. Come on, let’s talk.


  •  Be prepared to lobby for your group. Have the issue researched, present facts, include options, ask for opinions and then ask for what your group needs. If you have done your homework and pay attention to how your manager is responding, then your efforts will more likely pay off. Be flexible and ready for a challenge. This isn’t personal. It is essential for making sure the manager has explored the issue well and has all the facts necessary to make the decision.


Finally, set realistic expectations.

You can’t expect to get everything you want. A little give and take goes a long way.

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