Managing Up: How to Manage Your Manager

January 2, 2023

We frequently hear Project & Program Managers having complaints that their bosses are absent or just unable to give them the guidance, assistance, or communication they feel they require. If you identify with that, managing up is the most effective strategy to strengthen the bond and keep team goals on track.

Many leaders value team members who are precise, succinct, and assist them in performing their duties more effectively since they are leading from below. Depending on your working relationship, you might need to take the reins and guide your manager or any other senior managers in your company.

Managers can become blind to aspects of a project, team culture or have lost sight of a project for various reasons. It’s common to work with a brilliant boss who was able to communicate and influence others very well. However, has a tendency to try and influence project details when they may not have all the details or are out of touch with the process.  On the other hand some managers develop unsupportive habits after moving up and fail to recognize how their behavior affects their team members.

Although managing up the chain can be challenging, you can succeed with the planning. Here are some pointers for managing your manager.

What does it mean to manage up?

The concept of managing up could make you think of a lousy boss who you can’t stand to work for. They constantly micromanage, offer imprecise feedback, and make you put in extra hours. However, managing up isn’t really about trying to “fix” a poor manager or pressuring a manager to do what you want.

Utilizing the qualities of a competent manager to help bring out the best in you as an employee is known as managing up. When done successfully, managing up makes both your daily job and that of your manager easier.

Managing up is described as “becoming the most productive employee you can be, creating value for your employer and your team” according to Harvard Business Review. This article examines how to efficiently manage up as well as the significance of managing up.

How do you handle things? Utilizing the qualities of a successful manager to help your own boss is a crucial part of managing up. Use the following 11 key characteristics of effective managers to level up your toolbox.

1. Express interest about your manager

Caring managers spend time getting to know the people on their team. Those that manage up take the time to get to know their superiors. Celebrate their accomplishments and demonstrate a sincere interest in their well-being.

2. Coach

Although you don’t necessarily need to be a coach in the traditional sense for your manager, you can still apply a successful coaching strategy by giving insightful criticism. Give your manager an honest response when they inquire about ways they can support your growth.

4. Being emotionally resilient

Can you handle change well and maintain composure under pressure? Can you support your boss through times of stress and change? This is a fantastic method for managing up. Offer to run a team meeting for them or take on an extra duty to lighten their burden if you notice your manager is under excessive stress or pressure.

5. Equitable treatment

When managers delegate work assignments and consider people’s capabilities & professional development objectives, managers practice equitable treatment. You can practice equitable treatment with your manager by giving feedback that compliments their equitable treatment as well as when it is lacking.

6. Supporting creativity

Avoiding micromanagement is a crucial aspect in encouraging innovation. Avoiding coming out as domineering or controlling of your manager’s actions is crucial while managing up. By taking lessons from mistakes and successes, and by letting your manager know that you appreciate autonomy, you may encourage innovation.

7. General manager performance

Your ability to manage is directly linked to how well your manager feels appreciated as well as how you and your team share in the mutual success of the team.

8. A focus on results

To manage up with a results-driven manager, recognize the value of performance standards and uphold them. Your manager (and team) will succeed if you help your coworkers uphold performance standards.

9. Setting goals and a vision

Does your manager assist you in breaking down the company’s vision and strategy into manageable parts? Tell them know this is important to you and why. When your manager knows that you understand your role in the company and how it contributes to the success of the team and business, they can focus on results.

10. Own your Competency and Learning Plan

It’s important to demonstrate to your boss that you’re learning and growing. You should be able to show your boss how you have improved in some way, whether it’s a new skill or a new way of thinking about something.

11.  Communication!

If you’re like most people, the thought of approaching your boss with any kind of request makes you anxious. But asking for what you need is an important part of being an effective manager—and it’s only going to become more important as your career progresses.

When communicating with your manager:

●      Be Clear

●      Be Concise

●      Be Direct

●      Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

●      Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

●      Be honest and transparent while also being respectful and polite

●      Focus on solutions, not problems.


The job of your boss (and you) is made easier when managing up is done correctly. It won’t go ignored if you know how to interact with your supervisor in the most effective way, show that you care, meet performance targets, and more. When you switch teams or have a newly hired manager, managing up might be particularly crucial. Your relationship will get off to the ideal start if you exhibit these traits right away.

Learning how to manage up and have a productive working connection with your boss will help you improve your management abilities. It all comes down to developing trust, honest feedback, open communication, and an optimistic outlook. It’s perfectly acceptable to manage up; in fact, your supervisor will probably appreciate your efforts! Leaders inspire others.






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