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Patterns for managing up

Managing Up has patterns for making your bosses life easier:

  • Get curious about people’s motives (others and your managers)
  • Understand your manager and their job
    • Managers are not thinking about you
    • Questions to understand your manager?
      • What do they value?
      • How are they being evaluated?
      • What are they particularly good at?
  • Establish a positive relationship
    • Ask for advice not feedback
    • Compliment: tell them about something they taught you.
  • Make your boss look good
    • Equip them to speak bout your work (regular status updates)
    • Translate your knowledge (status report) into their frame (their priorities/problems)
  • Help Them see around blind spots
    • Pro-actively show them the areas where they might not know what they don’t know
    • “It’s my job to be pushing. I need you to tell me if I’m pushing us off a cliff.”
  • Close loop communicate
    • Pro-actively re-leave the manager of worrying about your status
  • If your boss is repeating themselves, they are trying to tell you something whether or not they’re conscious of it. One of those key managing up techniques is figuring out what they aren’t actually telling you.
  • Give your bosses something to talk about
    • A meaningful story of your area, or better yet, a practical experience for them (e.g. let me show you how we do X)