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Managing Up: 5 Easy Ways to Manage Your Boss

4 min read
Updated Aug. 25, 2021
Published Jul. 25, 2018

When we think of management, we tend to think of it in terms of managing subordinates. That’s not always the case. For any relationship to be successful, it needs to be a two-way street. Developing a healthy relationship with your boss isn’t always about waiting for feedback, it also requires managing up for the relationship to be successful.

Which begs the question, what’s the most effective way to manage your boss?

Adam Waid, Vice President of Services at Salesloft, shares with us five easy ways to help manage your manager. Whether it’s preparing for one-on-one meetings, or simply being proactive when problems arise, managing up is beneficial to creating a healthy workplace relationship.


Hey, I’m Adam Waid, Vice President of Services here at Salesloft. Whether you’re in sales, marketing, or customer success, I’m sure you’re wanting to advance your career. And today, we’re going to talk about one way to do that, which is managing your manager.

You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, why would I be managing my manager? They’re supposed to manage me.” And today, we’re going to talk about five things that will help you manage your manager.

Number one: focus your one-on-ones. At least two hours before your one-on-one, send a prioritized bulleted list of the things that are on top of your mind. Some topics could simply be progress updates. Some are blockers that you need guidance on. And others could just be professional development ideas that you have in mind. So, when you go into your one-on-one, be flexible. Ask your manager what’s top of mind for them, go through their priorities, and then tackle what’s top of mind for you.

Number two: over-communicate. Even if you think your manager knows what’s going on, make sure you give them progress updates along the way. One rule of thumb is maybe every Friday, send them an email that they can read through the things that you push forward. Make it short, make it simple to read, no more than 30 seconds for them to scroll through on their phone. But, it gives them an idea of the things that have been pushed forward.

Number three: avoid blindsiding. Managers hate being blindsided. So, whether you have a hallway conversation with an executive, you’re in a meeting that takes a slightly different turn, or anything in between, make sure you give your manager a heads-up.

Number four: own it. If there’s a problem or even if there’s a mistake that you made, just simply proactively go to your manager and let him know what’s going on. They want to help you brainstorm ways to resolve it.

Number five: encourage. You’ve heard the saying that it’s lonely at the top. Well, it may be for your manager. You see, managers are brought problems all day long, and they have to make decisions on very complicated things. So, if they’ve done something that you really like, or you see progress on the team because of their leadership, let them know. They try to encourage their team. Take some time without being perceived as a kiss-up, and give them some encouragement. It will go a long way and build a relationship.

I’m sure you’ve got some suggestions as well, so drop them in the comments below. Thanks for taking the time to watch the video. Talk to you soon.

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