Managing Upwards

by Ian Saunders

Common questions

  1. Why bother?
  2. What do you do when you hate your boss?
  3. How do you do it?

1. Why bother?

Because it is so important. If you don’t manage upwards effectively, you simply get what you are given. This leaves to chance the nature of the relationship that you have with your boss, the kind of climate and environment that you work in, how much freedom you enjoy and your future prospects.

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2. What do you do when you hate your boss?

If it really is hate, then consider your options. Working for someone that you hate is often unhealthy and you may be best moving elsewhere, inside or outside your organisation. If hate is too strong a word – if it is more about dislike or lack of respect – then the more effectively you manage upwards, using the ideas in the section, the more likely you are to arrive at a place that is more satisfying and rewarding. You may discover that the more effort that you put in, the better the relationship becomes, which may help to improve respect and recognition.

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3. How do you do it?

Give managing upwards time, effort and energy. Spend time working out your boss’ style, their likes and dislikes, what drives them and what keeps them awake at night. Unless you know this kind of information you will not be able to manage upwards effectively. Use the models and suggestions in this section to help you work out what actions you need to take to manage upwards skilfully.

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