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5 Ways Managing Up Can Further Your Career

Everyone will have to start somewhere but what determines the pace and direction of your career will depend on how well you know yourself and how well you manage other people around you. 

Many of you who are just starting your careers will learn rather quickly that the art of managing up is one of the most useful skills to have.  If done properly, it can propel your career in more ways than you can imagine and ensure that you’ll be ready to fill in those senior leadership roles as they become available. 

But what exactly does managing up mean? “Managing up doesn’t mean sucking up,” said Dana Rousamaniere, managing editor of the HBR’s Insight Center.  “It means being the most effective employee you can be, creating value for your boss and your company.”  Here are five ways managing up can further your career.

It will enhance your communication skills.

Each person’s communication style varies and as you grow in your career, you will learn to communicate according to your manager’s preferences. You’ll learn how to engage in small talk in an effort to get to know more about your supervisor as a person.  You’ll also learn to pay attention to his or her body language when speaking.  Most importantly, you’ll get plenty of practice to listen attentively.  Active listening is a key component of effective communication and a critical skill to have when it comes to managing upwards.

It will make you more self-aware.

Another byproduct of managing up is that it helps you to become more self-aware.  You figure out your limits and learn what techniques work and what doesn’t when it comes to getting what you asked for.  You begin to trust your instincts.  The more in tune you are to your own feelings and desires, the easier it is to adapt in a constantly changing environment.  Increased self-awareness will also boost your self-confidence, making you a more proactive employee. 

It will expand your network.  You will learn how to build lasting relationships.

When I asked some of my more senior colleagues what managing up means to them, the responses I received shared a common theme: establishing relationships based on trust. 

Networking is all about building and cultivating relationships with individuals you meet. 

It’s also a critical component of managing up.  

You’ve likely heard from mentors or coaches how important it is to build a solid network because you will need all the help you can get in order to be successful in your chosen career.  These folks will be the ones who you’ll rely upon to provide you with honest feedback, give you advice when asked and inform you about opportunities for advancement first hand.

It will increase your knowledge base.

The concept of managing up in itself requires an individual to expand their way of thinking and to consider stepping out of their comfort zones.  When you begin to practice the skill, you will find that different people respond to different things. This means that you’ll have to continuously learn how to navigate through different styles of communication, management and leadership preferences and personality traits just to name a few. Your knowledge base will inevitably increase as you progress in your career and gain exposure and experience working with a diverse group of people.

It will encourage you to take risks.

One of the benefits of managing up is that you have a well-built network of mentors that you can rely on to provide you with honest feedback and support you in case things fail.  Having this type of supportive safety net will then encourage you to take more risks and be more receptive to the challenges you normally wouldn’t consider otherwise.  The sooner you overcome the fear of failing at something, the more prepared you’ll be to respond and deal with more difficult situations as they arise.


Written by Iris Alon, Managing Editor for Young Government Leaders, a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, inspire, and transform current and future government leaders

Learn more about Young Government Leaders>


Image: Pexels


Posted in Young Gov

Tags: federal employees, Young Government Leaders, YGL, millennials, management



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