Managing Up – What is it and what should be understood about it?

Managing up became a buzz-phrase that trended quite well at all levels of corporations and the corporate world. Everyone understands the concept of the typical top-down management, but what about managing up definition? Are people familiar with it? Do they know what it is?

While there are some certainties in management and leadership, one truth experts found in all these years is that all managers are not effective and strong leaders. In fact, many of them have a lot of flaws.

What does this look like in the workplace? In all honesty, they don’t always make the right decisions. At times, they are the impediment to a project’s success.

Managers usually are not close to the daily work, hence they are not able to make the right decisions at times. They always also do not understand details of particular projects, tasks or work, and often fall behind in terms of information.

When it comes to managing up business, they often either fall behind, are unable to do it, or do it but after learning about it, taking their time.

Also, managers often are not aware of what people are really thinking about, or think of them. They also do not know how team members really feel about a particular work, task, process or issue.

Like others, they at times are not aware of what they do not know. Hence they can have large blind spots mentally.

Are employees hand tied to managers and senior executives?

This list of flaws can indeed be scary and concern a lot of people, it is however quite normal. Managers are human after all, and humans do make mistakes.

However, people are conditioned to treat managers as they are all-knowing and all-powerful people having the best skills in making decisions.

It is true that managers often possess certain kinds of strengths and advantages that can enable them to make worthwhile decisions. However, what is also true is that they also possess certain weaknesses and disadvantages due to their own personal characteristics, or due to inherent disadvantages in holding a higher-level position.

Managing up business

At times, senior executives in leadership positions are handicapped by their position. They might not be close to customers, or to people on the street, or have their ears to the ground in terms of what employees are thinking or which processes in an organization are damaged.

In honesty, even the senior executives are not perfect at all. They also have their own weaknesses or shortfalls. This can be due to the fact that they are mired in wider responsibilities, for which they may not have the adequate strengths and skills to even go into detail, before they are asked to make a decision regarding certain matters and issues.

Is it imperative to manage upwards in such a situation?

In all honesty, the truth is that for teams operating at top performance levels, it is not just important for managers to manage things top-down but also do things bottom up too. Meaning, it is imperative for staff to continuously manage up business.

Some experienced corporate executives spending more than 30 years in the corporate sector personally define managing up as a subordinate customizing their style of work along with behavior to suit the style of their managers. It also indicates them taking steps to make their manager’s work easier and proactively striving to optimize success for everyone.

In other words, managing up is like employees taking things off their boss’s platter. The purpose is to create value for supervisors and help them become more effective and efficient.

Managing Up – what does it look like?

Any employee who is good at managing up business has the following characteristics:

  • They anticipate problems and work actively to prevent them from metastasizing, taking place and/or worsening.
  • They adjust their approach and style to fit their manager’s preferences.
  • They are flexible and are willing to take on projects no other employee undertook.
  • They are able to speak the truth whenever necessary.
  • They are also willing to tell the truth even when the situation is not ideal.
  • They often learn to navigate through difficult situations created by difficult bosses.

Those who are thinking that is a tall order, they are right. Managing up is quite hard because understanding supervisors and bosses alike is tough. This is why it is quite important and quite effective too. A lot of employees often do not take the time to actively manage things up. Hence the ones who do so stand out from the crowd.

There is even another thing to note about managing up. Those working in digital agencies in Australia explain that if the need ever arose to buy Instagram followers Australia, one of the best practices in doing so is avoiding bots as followers and promoting the account to real users in a legitimate and authentic manner.

What are the best practices for managing things upwards?

Here are some steps for employees who wish to start managing things upwards:

  • They must always propose a solution (or more) when inquiring their supervisors for help with a problem or a task.
  • Looking for chances to help relieve their supervisor’s burden (that is taking things off their plate). They involve simple acts like scheduling meeting invitations, booking meeting rooms,  developing presentation templates, carrying out vendor research, and the like. This can save time for them and make employees valuable resources.
  • They adjust their style of communication to fit the preferences of their supervisors. For instance, if they prefer face-to-face communication, they should stop by their office to discuss issues instead of sending emails.
  • They get in the habit of carrying out brainstorming sessions. They analyze potential risks for new projects and are proactively sharing risk analysis (including recommended mitigation strategies and backup plans) with top management executives.
  • Sharing bad news first and good news soon.
  • They constantly look for opportunities to propose changes in the process or new innovations. They even volunteer to help lead the work and outcome (as needed).


Managing up can help develop a much more positive relationship between employees and supervisors. This can lead to more chances for further career development for employees, thus helping them reach their professional objectives in an easy manner and raising their job satisfaction to a whole new level.

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