Managing up is a necessary skill set that will make your life easier. For the most part, we all expect to lean into the direction provided from our managers. However, for those of us that have worked with overburdened, distracted, and disorganized bosses—it’s nearly impossible to truly know the expectations of your role. It can be especially tricky to succeed in your role if your manager is so swamped that they themselves are becoming disengaged. While you may want to duck and cover and then proceed to run for the hills—using data to manage up offers a unique opportunity to recultivate a positive working relationship with your manager and help get everyone back on the same page.
Managing up are methodologies, practices, and behaviors that “make your boss’ job a bit easier,” and in turn will make your life a little bit better. The notion is built around your ability to manage your manager. Harvard Business Review defines managing up as, “Being the most effective employee you can be, creating value for your boss and your company.” Here are some surefire ways to get a leg up on managing your manager:
Unbiased, statistically significant data can be incredibly helpful when managing up. Not only does it allow you and your manager to operate from the same source of truth, but it also helps provide insight into the innerworkings of your team.
Great data is so much more than a series of numbers. Within that data exists a remarkable story—one in which the true keys to success live. Ensuring that everyone is on the same page helps to reset expectations and make sure everyone knows where to focus. Gathering data around what is important you, your team, and your company’s goals is not only the first step in successfully managing up, but the first step in rapid, sustainable growth.
If your manager leaves you and the rest of your team in a state of confusion with a lack of clarity, data makes life a lot easier. Whether your manager truly just does not understand how work actually has to get done, or they rely too heavily on their “experience and expertise” (read: gut feelings), data can remove the emotion from decision-making. Humans are inherently biased, and when relying on gut decision, we often leave the better move on the table.
Perhaps the most rewarding outcome of using data to manage up is your opportunity to drive real, untethered value for your team and your company. Use the data to drill down and better understand the true levers that lead to positive and undesirable outcomes. With the data, you’ll start to notice where bottlenecks exist, where gaps are occurring, and you’ll understand where to focus the efforts of yourself and your team to knock your goals out of the park. Likewise, it removes the room for wishy washy decision making because the truth is objective and undeniable.
When done effectively, managing up is going to make your manager’s job a bit easier, which in turn will make yours easier as well. Putting in the effort to better understand the best way to interact with your manager and demonstrating that you care enough to not only help them, but help your team hit performance goals will set you apart. Investing in the skills required to managing up may also offer a glimmer of hope in a tarnished Manager/Employee relationship, offering an opportunity to reset and renew an existing relationship.
When managing up is done well, there are several benefits such as:
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In this guide, you will find:
- OKR principles
- Formulas & scores
- OKR methodology
- Step-by-step guide
- Free OKR templates
- Common mistakes
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