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How to manage up

My client Jorge is struggling to connect with his boss.

In our last coaching meeting, we discussed the importance of managing up.  

We all need to manage up. It’s a normal part of work!

What’s one of the first things to consider to build a strong relationship with your manager? 

Well, I suggest that you think about what each of you values and rewards at work.

What do you and your manager value and reward?If you value and reward the same things, your relationship will be easy. 

If you value and reward different things, building a connection with your boss can be harder. 

Let’s use the example of Jorge and his manager Eline.

Jorge values and rewards the following things at work:

  • Creativity
  • Enthusiasm
  • Optimism
  • Collaboration

Eline values and rewards the following things at work:

  • Accuracy
  • Attention to details
  • Punctuality 
  • Dependability 

You will notice that their lists are very different! This is one of the reasons that there is tension in their relationship. 

However, as I explained to Jorge, neither list is good nor bad, right nor wrong. They are just different! 

So, for Jorge to manage up, he needs to consider what Eline values and rewards and make some adjustments on his end. 

He has had to develop systems and processes demonstrating that he can be accurate, detailed, punctual, and dependable. 

While these tasks can sometimes feel like a stretch for Jorge, he certainly is capable of demonstrating these qualities; they just require a little more work and a concerted effort. 

What does your leader value and reward? Is their list similar to yours or quite different?  

Regardless, remember, there is not one “right” way to show up at work.

Think about what your manager rewards and values, then consider how you can adjust your style to meet their needs. 

That’s what managing up is all about!

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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