Welcome to Business Bites. My name is Sara. This is the podcast for busy professionals who want the quick hits of business terminology, historical context, and strategies for integration. Today, we're going to be talking about the term managing up.
Managing up first became a term in the 1970s by two IBM researchers, Harlan mills, and Nicholas. When we're thinking about this terminology, it's easy to understand that this is us trying to manage up into the organization. We're familiar with the idea of top-down management, right? My boss tells your boss tells me to do something. Thinking about that traditional approach has worked for years. Managing up is our opportunity either as individual contributors or managers ourselves to manage up into the organization, being able to work with leadership in different kinds of ways. When you are doing managing up, it's important to consider a lot of different factors before starting to do this. To better understand the leader with whom you work most closely, you really need to get to know them. To understand their roles and understand the work that they do. Are you in a position to share useful and honest feedback with them?
One of the things that happens often when we move into leadership positions is that people stop telling us what's really important to hear. Are we able to understand that leader's preferred communication channels? Are they best by email or by text or by instant message? Do we have an open mind or an eager attitude about change? Now, change can be very complicating and difficult to navigate, but are we approaching it with a positive mindset of what could be and what the options may be going forward? Are we taking the time to understand our leaders' results and the outcomes that they're being driven to push for? Do we understand the expectations that are being put on them in the work? When we're better able to connect our goals to their goals, we're able to more effectively manage up.
For us, being able to proactively assess and manage those situations helps us assess what issues may be coming up on the horizon. When deciding if you are going to be managing up in a specific situation, ask yourself some of these questions. How are you defining success in this moment? Is that definition that you have for success the same that your leader does? Getting alignment on those two questions can be really important to be able to understand, are you making the maximum impact that you can in that setting? Next, what are your priorities as compared to the priorities of your leader? Again, if there is a lack of alignment and agreement on these, you will have a harder time ensuring that you are managing up appropriately.
And lastly, thinking about what you are seeing versus what your leader is seeing. You may have a unique perspective on the organization at your level and then below to the team that you support. Additionally, your leader may have perspective above yours that you may not be aware of. What are the two perspectives that are at play here? Yours from one angle and your leader's from another. Being able to bring those two together may be your opportunity to help manage up that scenario a little bit differently.
This has been Sara with Business Bites. And you can reach me at [email protected] We would love to hear from you on what other terminology you'd like bite-sized. As always, give us a quick rating on your platform of choice and share this podcast with a friend.