• emilyhawkins28

How To Manage Up

Take a load off of your boss

It's Monday morning. Did you walk by your boss' office to get to your desk? Did you see the look on their face? 

I'm making assumptions here but I bet they were either deep in concentration or they've already hit the ground running in meetings.

The main point is they are busy people with many responsibilities. What your boss may or may not be telling you is they are drowning in work!

Instead of waiting for your boss to let go of work why don't you take it off his/her plate for them. And here's how to do it without taking a ton of your boss' time.

Step 1:

Make a list of everything you know your boss is working on. If you don't know then look through emails from your boss to glean clues.

  • When doing this make sure to create either a spreadsheet or word document of this information for easy updating and sharing.

Step 2:

Utilizing your strengths and skillsets, where could you be of service?

  • Are you a spreadsheet wiz?

  • Are you an amazing notetaker?

  • Are you strong at organizing and prioritizing?

Step 3:

Fill in the spreadsheet/word doc sharing how you can help. Some examples below:

  • Build a report for him/her using the data you believe would be most relevant to the project.

  • Take notes and disseminate to the rest of the department.

  • Offer to update IT systems after a meeting.

Here's a screenshot of what your spreadsheet could look like:

If you haven't figured it out, you're asking to do the grunt work so that your boss carryon with his/her meetings and tasks while effectively communicating back to his/her team. 


How to manage up

Open communication - most managers don't mean leave their team in the dark, they simply don't have time to do an effective job at communicating. You take this burden away by creating the communication for the entire team.

Listening before doing - in order for you to move up in an organization you're going to need to know what happens in higher up meetings. The best way to do this is by watching, listening and offering to take notes. 

Learn how your leader thinks - When you offer to do tasks for your boss you begin to understand more clearly how he/she thinks, what they need in their reporting and eventually you'll think ahead and begin providing it before your boss even thinks of it themselves.

I'm scared!

Is your boss hard to approach?

How can I lift your burden
  1. Print out your completed spreadsheet and walk by their office with it in hand.

  2. Say "I was thinking of ways I could help you without it taking your time and here's what I came up with." Hand them the print out and briefly speak on each topic, make sure this interaction lasts less than 5 minutes.

  3. Then say "I know you're busy, I'll leave you now but I'd love to join you in X meeting and do the note-taking I mentioned."

  4. Walk out unless told to stay.

Want more tips? Click here to learn even more tips and tricks. 


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