The value of a good relationship is that it gives you a solid foundation when stressful times arise. Without one, you don’t have the open communication and sense of trust needed to resolve issues between you quickly.

Instead, you should have a strategic plan to “manage up” and figure out how to work with your manager more effectively. No matter how good or bad your manager may be, it’s vital to make this relationship work.

Why leave the quality of that relationship solely in your manager’s hands? Here’s what you can do to take charge and start managing up.

1. Face Reality

You are hired to support your boss’ aspirations. Managers do not want people on their team that bog them down. They want people that make them look good. You have to understand and accept this as your mission.

2. Maintain a Positive Relationship

Get to know your manager as a person. Simple questions that help you to get to know one another can go a long way toward helping you understand your manager’s desires, perspective, and behaviour. This will enable you to ultimately respond accordingly.

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3. Understand Their Goals

Employees should know their direct manager’s goals, objectives, and desired outcomes. If you are not clear on your objectives, now is the time to clarify with your manager to fix that, as everything you do is directly tied to that. By understanding his or her goals, you’ll be able to see how your work ties into the group’s success.

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4. Anticipate Needs

Once you understand your boss’ goals, you will be better equipped to anticipate his or her needs.

For example, if you know that your manager’s goal is to sign contracts with six new clients over the next month, notice when there are high-priority prospect meetings on his calendar and ask what he needs from you to be prepared.

By asking for what your manager needs before he thinks to ask you for it, you’ll make a welcome contribution.

5. Do Not Let Your Boss Get Blindsided

If there is a customer or an unhappy business partner poised to escalate over your head, you know bad news is coming. This means your boss is going to get the call.

There’s only one option: Let your manager know before that call comes in.

There’s nothing more annoying to a manager than being caught off guard and knowing nothing about the situation at hand. If you know that call is coming, get your boss the details of the situation and the corrective action that’s already in play so he or she is prepared and confident when that phone rings.

6. Do Your Job Well

One of the best ways you can manage up is to manage yourself. Proficient people are able to do two things: Prioritize and strive to do excellent work.

So, try to do both, as when you do your job well, you give your manager something to brag about in staff meetings. It’s professional capital and a point of pride for him or her.


Don’t make the mistake of believing your manager is simply a menace to be tolerated. Observe what you can do to manage your work efficiently. You will find more satisfaction and learn far more in the process.

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