Managing Upward: How to Work With Demanding Managers


managing_upManagers in mid-level positions know that it’s important to excel at managing upwards, especially knowing how to work with demanding managers. Many of these individuals belong to the next level of management, but they do not directly oversee a manager’s work. The key to managing upwards is using approaches that do not threaten managers who are higher up in the chain of command. Such approaches require effective communication and professional tactics. They also require being attuned to all of the personalities in the organization that affect one’s job. When managers use these approaches, the demanding managers above them are more likely to develop a healthy respect for their work and support their advancement in the power structure.

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Anticipate the Boss’s Needs
The best executive assistants are whizzes at anticipating what their boss wants. This involves observing the behavior patterns of the boss and the people (s)he interacts with daily and then taking actions to meet recurring needs as they arise. One example is preparing a report that the boss hasn’t asked for yet. When the boss’s mind moves to the need for that report, (s)he can reference it quickly and then turn their attention to the next matter. This type of synchronicity is essential because people with much authority make numerous policy decisions, sometimes in one day. They count on the people under them to provide vital information that strengthens their executive decisions.

Like executive assistants, mid-level managers are essential to the success of high-level leaders because they handle day-to-day supervision of personnel and make decisions that benefit the organization.