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Managing Up: 4 Tips for Being an Effective Employee

Jonna Robertson Account Strategy - Team Lead
#News & Culture
Published on August 10, 2018

Diagram's Jonna Robertson shares 4 tips to help you become an even better employee by managing up.

Managing up...it’s not just a buzz phrase for Human Resource blogs and company newsletters. In fact, it's an essential tool for productivity and one of the quickest ways to advance your career.

Are you ready to work better and smarter with your boss? Use these shortcuts to make yourself and your boss and/or client look like a rock star. If you work in an agency setting, replace “supervisor,” “manager,” or “boss,” with “client,” and all of these tips still apply.

Tip 1: Figure out your boss' schedule.

When are the most opportune times to meet and/or collaborate with your boss? When is she most likely able to focus on you and your needs? It's probably not after she’s been in 7 back-to-back meetings. By learning her schedule and planning accordingly,  she'll be able to dedicate 100% of her time (and brainpower) towards you.

Did your supervisor email you about a non-emergency at 9:15 p.m. on a Sunday? It might seem annoying and you might be thinking, “is she really expecting me to respond right now?” Or it could just be that she wants to get it off her to-do list before she forgets and has no expectation of an instant response. Don’t be afraid to bring it up at your next one-on-one to ask for clarity. Then you can decide together how best to handle those late-night or weekend requests.

Tip 2: Prepare for your one-on-one meetings. 

Plan and prepare for your one-on-one meetings. Own that agenda because it’s your time with your boss. Use it to get what you need to be even more successful. What challenges or roadblocks do you need your supervisor’s help to overcome? What goals are on track and which ones need to be revisited? What projects or solutions require his buy-in? Always remember to share your team’s wins. 

Tip 3: Don't blindside others

There’s nothing more frustrating as a manager than getting blindsided. Whether it’s a call from an angry customer, or an internal disagreement that you know will be escalated, own up to the mistake and make sure your supervisor is prepared before she gets that call. This is one of the best ways to build trust with your manager.

Tip 4: Set clear expectations

Don’t waste your time on things your manager doesn’t value. If she doesn’t care about a specific report, then you probably shouldn’t waste much time making it. One of the best ways to know what she's values most is to simply ask. You will ensure that you’re on the same page and you may end up with a shorter to-do list as a result.

What are some ways that you've helped set yourself and your career up for better success? Share them below!