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Three Keys to Managing Up

managing up

Do you know how managing up can help your career? You are sure you let your boss know you would be available for more work, but then you find out another employee is given a management position. What went wrong? When it comes to giving more responsibility, employers really give more importance to actions than words. If you want to find ways to create that next career opportunity for yourself, here are three keys to prove to your boss that you are ready to move forward.

#1 Learn your boss’ work style. Spend time to getting to know your boss: her personality type, her communication style, and how they want your work to be done. When you understand these elements about your boss, it will help you better assess your work and make sure you are doings things how your boss would like you to work and communicate with them. However, be careful not to lose sight of yourself and your values.

Action tip: Observe your boss for this week. Then write down what you’ve learned and compare them to your own preferences. Analyze to see how you could adjust your work style without losing yourself to better please your employer. If after a week you don’t feel like you have been able to gauge your boss´ habits, schedule a meeting with her to ask how you could do things in a way that they prefer.

#2 Keep your boss in the loop. When you keep your boss informed about your projects and  team projects, that helps them to trust that you are on top of things. This could be informal communication, such as an email, or formal communication during a meeting. In most cases, the more you communicate with them the better. Just make sure to keep it brief and efficient.

Action tip: Determine the best way to keep your boss informed. Would she prefer update emails at the end of each day or as you complete sections of a project? Is a once-a-week email update sufficient? Your boss should generally  let you know how often she wants updates on your work but if you are unsure, ask. Remember she is busy, so don’t overload her with unnecessary information.

#3 Go the extra mile. Before you leave a meeting with your boss, review what was discussed to be sure you are clear on all the action items. If you feel that something wasn’t clear or you are unsure of the next steps, take a moment to ask for clarification. You can also try repeating what was said in a more specific way to make sure you and your boss are on the same page.

Action tip: Think of one action step you can take this week to exceed your boss´ expectations. Can you finish a project a day early? Perhaps you can use a visual aid in your next presentation? Keep in mind that giving attention to small details shows your boss that you are capable of great things.

Hallie Crawford is a certified career coach and founder of Create Your Career Path. Her team of coaches helps people find their dream job and make it a reality. She is regularly featured as an expert in the media including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and US News & World Report. Sign up for a complimentary consultation.