If you have never heard the phrase “manage up,” it’s an easy way of referring to how business professionals communicate and interact with their leader for maximum effectiveness.  When I conduct leadership training sessions or workshops, one of the most popular discussions often revolves around how to more effectively “manage up.” For example, leaders are eager to discover ways to deliver information to their leaders that increase the chance of a favorable response.  Business communicators are constantly seeking guidance on how to more effectively gain their leader’s support and confidence.

As leaders, bosses, CEOs, or senior level executives, we have the chance to help our team members “manage up” or to more effectively communicate with us.  

Ask yourself:

  • When was the last time you shared with your team members how you would like them to manage you?
  • When was the last time you shared with them how you like information to be conveyed to you?
  • Have you taken the time to evaluate how you want people to approach you and have you shared that insight with your team members?
  • Are you aware of your idiosyncrasies or pet peeves and have you made your team members aware of those?

Try to provide your team members with insight into how to manage you regarding these daily communications:

  • How do you like people to take initiative? Do you want them to act and then review with you or come up with a plan you can preview?
  • Do you prefer electronic or face-to-face communication?
  • Is that preference the same across all types of situations or do you prefer urgent issues to be managed differently?
  • Do you want a high-level overview of a topic first or do you prefer people to dive into the details right away?
  • How do you like to handle questions/interruptions?  Do you want them one at a time or have people “batch” things for a longer conversation?
  • Do you typically need time to ponder things or are you quick to come to a decision?
  • Do you need a few minutes when you arrive every morning to get settled or can you dive right in?
  • Do you want people to schedule time with you or try to catch you on the fly?
  • How much information do you need when you ask someone to “keep you in the loop?”
  • When a problem happens, how do you want to be informed?

Use this as an effective communication “starter” list.  I am confident you will come up with many others.

Don’t make your team members guess or have to discover the answers to these scenarios by trial and error. Help them succeed with you by helping them learn what you prefer. Practice assertive communicationand let them know how to effectively manage you.

In what ways can you help your team manage you? If you have any other areas where insight would be helpful, share them in the comments section.

If you could benefit from learning more communication skills like these to be a better leader, team member, and top performer, join us for a webinar on Best Kept Communication Secrets August 18th.

Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.