What Is Managing Up?

Posted September 30, 2013 by Leni Schimpf in On the Ladder
Manage Up

‘Managing up’ is a term regularly used as a way to advance one’s career, but what exactly does it mean?

Managing up means you step above your daily responsibilities to support your supervisor’s work, and in turn, your work. The benefit of managing up is that you help your manager, and overall team do their best possible work, and in a sense make your manager’s job easier. Managing up will help others recognize and see the value you add to your company.

So how exactly does a Career Girl manage up?

Scenario #1:

Your department is swamped with work, and in return your supervisor has a larger workload and more responsibilities.

  • Don’t let things slip through the cracks. If you need an approval from your boss, or for her to review something, don’t wait until the deadline to let her know. This will only cause frustrations and last minute scrambling. Even if your supervisor is busy, set aside time to review something with her or walk into her office so you can quickly talk face-to-face. (This is often more effective than sending emails during busy times). In the end, your boss will be happy that everything was completed on time.
  • Keep yourself organized so when your boss asks you a specific question, you have a clear answer. This will save time for both you and your boss.
  • Lastly, use busy times as a way to show that you can handle more responsibilities. If you have free time, go to your boss and ask what she needs help with. This allows you to get more involved in projects, and takes some things off your boss’s plate.

Scenario #2:

Your workload has lightened up, so you would like to use this as an opportunity to take on more responsibilities.

  • When your department is slow. Sit down with your boss to discuss long term projects. Use this time as a way to share some of your ideas about what you would like to work on, and see how this fits in with your boss’s ideas. Long-term, these conversations have the potential to make a large impact on the department, your career, and thus make your boss look good—one of the great benefits of managing up.
  • Think of new ways to be more efficient. Whether this is the way your team handles something, or the way you personally deal with responsibilities. In the end, your boss will appreciate the time you took to make processes more effective. Nothing is valued more than time, especially at a busy company, so figuring out ways to save time makes you the hero!

Managing up might already be something you do at your company, but these ideas are great ways to go above expectations and get you to the next level of your career. Managing up should be a process, and is also unique to the relationship between a Career Girl and her boss.

See what works for you and your boss and share some of your managing up ideas below!

About the Author

Leni Schimpf

Leni Schimpf is a Public Relations Specialist at the law firm Dickstein Shapiro LLP in Washington, DC. She works on a marketing team focusing on business development and growth opportunities for the firm. At the firm, she is responsible for all external and internal communications, social media, and anything related to the press. Leni is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where she majored in Communication, with a concentration in Public Relations, and double majored in Government and Politics.