Although I haven’t been working long in the grand scheme of things, I’ve held four corporate jobs and have had seven managers. It wasn’t until my current manager who introduced me the practice of managing my manager. Now this, I never learned in business school. I always thought management was a one way street. He told me that although it was his job to manage me, it was up to me to make sure he did it correctly. The concept was foreign, and I wasn’t sure what my manager meant by managing him. How odd. How does one manage the manager, in fact, what does it even mean? Well, I spent some time doing a bit of research reading Internet articles and along with my own experiences, below is what I have pieced together.
- Spend time observing your manager, and not in a creeper kind of way. This is a process that can take weeks, perhaps months. During meetings and discussions, pay attention to what your manager says and how he/she answers questions. The goal is to figure out your manager’s thought pattern.
- Closely tied with the first point, figure out your manager’s management style. Is your manager on of these types?
- Align your goals with your manager’s goals. It’s important that you two are on the same page in delivering results.
- Let your manager know about your career goals, that way, you might be given more challenging projects that will help you grow and advance in your career.
- Do your best to work out conflicts or issues at work on your own before going to your manager. Chances are, your manager will ask about what you did to solve a particular issue. Managers like doers, not whiners.
- Managers aren’t perfect. If he or she is lacking in a particular area, go fill in the skill gap. Remember, if your manager looks good, you will look good.
- Anticipate your manager. Sometimes when I have one on one discussions with my manager, I answer questions that he is planning on asking.
- Keep your manager updated with your progress. Weekly status reports extremely valuable for this. Chances are, your manager may report your successes up the chain of command, granting you more visibility.
Note, managing your manager does not mean sucking up to your manager.