Why Managing Up Needs to Be Part of Your Strategy for 2020

Adam Jasnikowski

Managing Up (2)

It’s something we as business leaders rarely speak about – but a challenge many will face throughout our careers: friction in the workplace, specifically between manager and new employee. What happens when you make a new hire and aren’t sure that you’re going to end up on the same page after all?

I mean really; are you working towards the same goals? Are your priorities in line with one another? Do you both/all understand where the business is going and how to get there?

When you add to your team – whether it’s a small, one-on-one start-up type of environment or managing a full-scale operation – there are a lot of things which can cause friction, frustration and the inevitable resulting lack of productivity. Which is probably why “managing up” is fast-becoming one of 2020’s biggest corporate trends.

Oftentimes, it’s simply a discrepancy in ‘the way you do things’ which creates tension between manager and employee. Where some may succeed in spite of their scatter-brained approach, others require strict routine and process to get through the day, as an example. Inevitably, when one of these types of person is managing the other, it can result in confusion, misunderstanding of expectations and, frankly, an employee sometimes being unsure what to do next, what their job entails.

Enter “managing up”.

Think of it this way: whatever your level, your manager’s success hinges on your own – so, it’s in your interest to understand them, how they work best, what’s going to help them (and, in turn, you) the most. The process of managing up is essentially implementing all of the above into your team’s way of working, to give them the power to manage what they need out of you and when.

Examples of managing up in the workplace include holding employee-to-manager led one-on-ones which gives your member of staff the opportunity to pick your brains in a more private setting – there are some things they just may not feel comfortable saying in a team meeting. The agenda of the meeting should be set by the employee, to focus on understand what it is they want to know – help with X, Y and Z; feedback on this project or that presentation. By letting them take the lead you’re also learning a lot about the person – which well help you manage this employee in the traditional sense, too.

Other ways to encouraging managing up are to complete goal setting exercises; perhaps in a more casual, outside of the office setting, getting your team together to talk strategy, share ideas and set some key goals for the coming months. Having joint goals – as in, the business achieving its goals means the employees can reach theirs – is imperative for a smooth-running team whose staff are in it for the long run.

Tension in the workplace between manager and employee doesn’t have to come from a clash of personalities; it could simply be that you and your new team member work best via different methods, leading to miscommunication and subsequent friction.

Encouraging your team to manage up is sure to improve employee engagement, but you might also look forward to an increase in motivation, and certainly stronger employee relations as a whole. As professionals, there should be very few issues which won’t resolve themselves once time is taken to understand one another.

Whether you’re managing a team of one or a hundred, our expert consultants are exactly that; they know how to build, and then maximise the retention of, industry-leading talent. Our process doesn’t stop once a placement is made, and it’s this exceptional after-care which defines us as a true leader in the Melbourne recruiter marketplace. Get in touch today to discuss your post-COVID goals and hiring strategy.