Sometimes, it’s easy to get too comfortable in your career, isn’t it? You come to a time where you can do everything that is expected of you easily, without a lot of stress. But, beware! you can, at this point start to feel a little less satisfaction. You may feel that you are not being challenged. Or, you can worry that you will stagnate in your career and never move up to the heights you are capable of. What you need to do then is this: get good at managing up. Managing up refers to stretching yourself in your job. Instead of focusing on just what needs to get done to fulfill your duties, look at what needs to happen to help your company as a whole and you in your career grow. It means taking on additional tasks that make your manager’s life easier and make you a more valuable part of the enterprise.

Why is Managing Upwards important?

If we just stick to our job descriptions, the people who work around us will never know our full capabilities and potential. It is too easy to get stagnated and stop moving forward in your career. By making managing up part of your philosophy and strategy, you can become more valuable to your department and the company.

It’s also good protection. If there is a down turn in your business, your industry or the economy as a whole, there will be times when cuts may need to be made. By showing that you are valuable and committed, you can increase your chances that you will be there to ride along on the next upswing.

And, more than anything else, it’s good for your mental health at work. When you come in dedicated to being valuable, you will feel more confident and happier about the work that you do. A sense that you are doing valuable work and helping to build something leads to higher job satisfaction. Since most of us spend a significant amount of our time at work, finding value there enhances every part of our lives.

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5 Tips for Succeeding at Managing Up

Once you’ve decided that managing up is part of your strategy, you need to figure out how to succeed at it. If you are going to keep your efforts productive, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Get to know and understand your manager.

You and your manager need to be able to communicate clearly. You need to understand what their priorities are and what they want from the people who work with them. If you do not understand what your manager means, for instance, when they ask for a task to be completed, take the time to learn. And, know what your manager prefers. For instance, many people do not like to hear new ideas unless there is data to back it up. Make sure you give your manager what they need to be able to say ‘yes’.

2. Jump in where you are needed.

Don’t wait to be told that something needs to be done. When you observe a need, find a way to fulfill it. By jumping in, you show your willingness to take chances and your willingness to get things done.

3. Keep your boss informed.

Your manager is not a mind reader. Tell him regularly what you are working on and what you have accomplished. By keeping a running narrative, you can demonstrate your value to the company and begin to move up.

4. Work on building relationships.

Get to know the people in your company and in your industry. By making sure that people know who you are and the work ethic and ingenuity you bring to the job, the more likely they will think of you when new opportunities come up.

5. Keep things positive.

Sometimes, the most valuable thing you can be is someone who is easy and pleasant to work with. Stay out of company politics and drama. Keep complaining to a minimum when things do not go as planned. By making sure that you are easy to be around, you help ensure that you are the person people want to pick for new projects.

Managing up is not just doing a few extra things around the office. It’s a philosophical difference in how you relate at work. You will find that when you start looking at your career through this lens, you will feel happier, more fulfilled and more pleasantly challenged in your work.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organisations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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