top of page

Upward Management: Who's the Boss?

We talk to a lot of people ("a lot", of course, in Jim Carrey “Dumb and Dumber” voice). A consistent theme we hear from professionals is they want more autonomy, and yet few being micro-managed take it upon themselves to focus on what they can control. Insert upward management.

  1. Respect your manager’s time – Be prepared. Keep a running list of open items you need to cover should you have the time.

  2. Discuss solutions, not problems – Describe the issue and potential solutions before asking for help.

  3. Follow through on commitments – Earn trust through your delivery on critical deadlines and tasks.

  4. Hold yourself accountable – Admit mistakes (no sugar coating) and don’t make the same mistake twice.

  5. Provide detailed status updates – Always know your open items and the steps to complete.

  6. Adapt to your manager’s communication style – Be nimble. Email may suffice, but conversations for fluid situations are necessary.

  7. Share your needs – If you need more time or resources, say so, just make sure you can still take care of business.

  8. Seek feedback – Monthly, discuss your progression and top three development areas.

  9. Be candid – Never tell your boss what he or she wants to hear rather. Transparency always wins.

  10. Be assertive – Ask for time when you need it. Schedule time if you need more than 10 minutes.

What else has worked for you?


bottom of page