By Joe Takash
Managing Up: 1. The rare act of transparent communication with one’s professional superior or superiors to get needs met, thoughts heard and contribute to the success of boss, team and organization. 2. Courageous upward leadership with the intent to establish trusting partnerships and own one’s results.
Interns and entry-level employees, even employees at high levels, often don’t apply the tips listed below for effectively managing upward because they were never provided with a blueprint early on in their career. Practicing these diligently can expedite career opportunities and differentiate you in an economy that is in need of high flyers more than ever.
1. Choose Good Timing – Discover the best times in which to approach your boss by simply asking, “When are the best times to meet with you if I have questions?” This simple inquiry can build credibility because of its awareness and consideration of your boss’s busy schedule. An added benefit is that when you meet with them, you’re likely to have a more focused, less distracted listener.
2. Prepare and Plan – Practice your approach, as this method is preferred over “just winging it” so you can succinctly explain up front why you’re there and what you need from them. Be solution-focused! Bosses want to know what you have thought of or would suggest about the inquiries you have. This is a crucial component for demonstrating leadership and initiative.
3. Align Understanding – If your boss does not state his or her expectations or ask about yours, don’t waste energy griping to others about it. Instead, rise above and ask them to be clear about what they need from you. Requesting the primary duties you should be focusing on or discovering the qualities that make up the ideal professional in your position not only impresses them, but provides you with a roadmap for success.
4. Follow-up/Follow-through – One of the biggest barriers for positive change is lack of accountability. In managing upward, you can hold yourself and your boss accountable by agreeing on times/dates to follow-up at the conclusion of each meeting or communication exchange. Your boss may think, “These behaviors would be great in a client services or sales position,” which may be a promotion you earn twice as fast.
5. Own Your Results – A young lady named Karen once approached me after a keynote presentation I delivered to her company. With a pleasant, apprehensive smile, she said: “Joe, I really believe I’m equipped to be our marketing manager. I have experience, passion and knowledge, but I don’t know what to say to my boss. I was wondering if you have advice.” I said, “Karen, I have for you a magic formula and it can be described with one word: ask!” I politely explained to her that the biggest success stopper is that cynical voice within each of us. Owning your results doesn’t mean you won’t experience fear as you navigate your career; rather, it’s the commitment to courageously ask for what you want and be prepared to state why and how all will benefit.
Joe Takash, a behavior strategist, is the author of the newly released “Results Through Relationships: Building Trust, Performance and Profit Through People,” as well as a sought-after media resource and keynote speaker. As the founder of performance management firm Victory Consulting, Takash has worked with clients like American Express, Prudential, Century 21 and General Motors. For more information, visit joetakash.com.
Copyright 2009 Agent Publishing LLC