I did a bit of searching, but didn't find any previous posts on this subject -- how to "manage up", like getting your boss to deliver what you need. I'm trying to help a colleague who is looking for guidance on this.

I'll certainly fire up the Google, but thought I'd ask the good folks here as well. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you can share. 

pucciot's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge
cruss's picture
Licensee Badge

Pucciot is correct but left the origional casts from 2006 off the list.



williamelledgepe's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

When I hear people talk about managing up the thing that causes me to squint in curiose bemusement is the word "manage."  If manage means be in charge of, administer, lead, organize, direct, administer, have power over, have authority over, or govern (which it does) then you cannot manage your boss.  If manage means persuade, influence, or convince - then I'm OK with it (though you should really use a different word because that is not the meaning of "manage" in the English language).  

Gabarro and Kotter wrote an HBR article in 2005 that has good content - the title is misleading and unfortunate, but the content is good.  (  The article has unfortunately cemented in organizational diction the misuse of the word manage when referring to your relationship with your boss.

What the authors describe in the article as "managing your boss" is actually understanding your boss, yourself, and your relationship.  They even start the article by saying "Managing your boss" means "the process of consciously working with your superior to achieve the best possible results...effective managers take time and effort to manage ... relationships ... with their boss." 

The article talks about understanding your bosses and your own strengths, weaknesses, work styles, needs, and goals then using this information to create a healthy working relationship.  It discusses adjusting your work style to fit your boss's work style - if your boss is a listener or a reader, for example, you should alter your delivery of information to suit that style.  Understanding your boss's decision-making style is also important.  The article discusses a handful of other important points similar to those.

The HBR article even has a "Checklist for managing your boss" which is great for selling subscriptions and giving people a quick fix - not as effective at affecting change.  Unfortunately, the article was titled to meet an addiction to a common ailment - fortunately the content is good.

I would like to add one resource to the MT casts listed above:  This includes a better description of many of the sam epoints in the article - but with more specific advice - in true MT style.