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Managing Up Skills: Why Are They Important?

Managing Up Skills: Why Are They Important?

How to manage your leader and manager

Our work can sometimes be demanding and frustrating. Not only do we have to deal with a diverse workforce but also with pressure from our leaders and managers. A 2017 study conducted by Audencia Business School, in France and BVA, showed that seven out of ten employees stated, “if their manager was less involved, they would feel more fulfilled”. 

Although we may not be 100% satisfied with our leaders or managers all the time, we need to remember that we can influence how this relationship develops and even strengthens it. Working daily with our bosses means good relationships are key for a healthy work environment. That is why we need to work on our “managing up” skills, which basically means knowing how to manage our relationships with our managers/leaders, impact their work visions, support and encourage them. To do this effectively, it is crucial for them to trust their employees and be confident in their capacities.

More than developing relationships with them, it is also important to know them and their communication preferences: How? When? How often? What is their decision-making process? Thus, ongoing communication and active listening are key. Asking them directly and prioritising this information and their goals is the right thing to do.

On the other hand, more than knowing the manager/leader style, workers must adjust to it and inform bosses of their expectation and work needs. In addition, employees need to give feedback to bosses. And although feedback usually comes when things are not going well, we have no idea how powerful positive feedback can be. It is an efficient way to empower and encourage people to keep up the good work. How will we know we are doing something great if no one tells us?

On the contrary, if workers are not satisfied with something, they should feel comfortable telling their bosses. Sincere, constructive, fact-based feedback can be the key to successful working relationships. Thus, if things are not going well with our boss and as tempting as it may be, we should not let that be the reason for not doing our best at work. It can be difficult, we can start losing focus and even interest. But we should look for the bigger picture. Workers should always aim for top work performance.

Bosses need their employees as much as employees need them. So, the better the relationship, the better our work performance and work environment. Good relationships between workers and superiors allow employees to feel encouraged and supported. They also help workers move their careers forward.

Managing up our leaders/managers is an ongoing process and the aim is healthy workplaces.


  1. How To Manage Your Boss Effectively: A 10-Point Checklist To Managing Up, June 2019, Forbes
  2. How to Manage Your Boss? (And Be Happier at Work), THE WAY FACTORY
  3. The secrets to managing your boss (no matter what type of boss you have), September 2019, FastCompany