If you’re having trouble with your boss or supervisor, this one change in your approach can mean the difference between a breakthrough or a further breakdown of your relationship.
Oftentimes, I have heard in my career how someone believes that their boss does not like them or consistently gives them a hard time.
After further discussing the situation, what comes to light is the fact that there is a lack (or perceived lack) of performance that that boss is reacting to.
Although a supervisor should not react passive aggressively by making someone feel less than, rather than having direct conversations about performance, it happens.
If that sounds like your situation, there is a rather simple solution.
Simple in the sense that you can continue to have the difficult relationship with your supervisor or you can apply a ten-minute approach that has worked countless times with many supervisors of various personalities and even those with narcissistic tendencies.
This approach has even changed the course for some from possible termination to promotion.
This approach is called Managing Up and it is a technique that, when used correctly, can completely change behaviors by simply changing your narrative.
In the simplest terms, Managing Up is:
Communicating effectively and proficiently to a point where knowledge replaces assumptions and insight replaces questions.
Managing up allows you to “create your narrative”. You can go from a relationship of constant exchanges with your supervisor of answering questions that can feel like an inquisition, to eliminating those exchanges all together.
First, let’s be clear on what managing up is not. Managing up is not kissing ***. It is not stating what you hope to do, providing false information, or acting/communicating defensively.
Managing up is communicating a brief summary of your actions, processes, or activities to your supervisor before they ask for it in a consistent format, at a consistent time and day of the week.
Sound uncomfortable to you? If it is, you have just been provided a valuable self-realization tool.
This can indeed be a very uncomfortable process IF you find that while trying to draft your summary for your supervisor, you don’t have much information to provide.
Let me give you an example. If you were in sales and a large portion of your responsibility and ranking is dependent on new sales, your managing up summary to your boss should look something like this:
“Jane, This has been a very productive week. Over the last five days I have presented to 14 new perspective clients and have sold 6 of them of which I will be submitting by tomorrow. Two of the clients asked me to follow up this week and 2 have agreed to start their programs by next quarter. I have nine prospective appointments lined up for this week so far and while I always strive for 100% successful closure rate, I expect that at least 4 will turn into clients by week’s end. I have found that my closure rate is more than doubled (40% closure rate vs 15%) when I present face-to-face rather than over the phone, therefore, I will continue to press clients for in-person or Zoom meetings for best results. I will keep you apprised of my progress by week’s end, please reach out with any questions or recommendations.”
In this example you provided a summary of past actions, future actions and key takeaways, which shows your supervisor that you are working hard, are consistent in your approach and are striving for success.
Be aware, however, that if the expectation is that you are to have 20 prospect appointments per week and you are falling short, make certain to lead with your strategies to obtain the additional appointments by weeks end or fully expect that you will be asked for your strategies or worse, you will appear as if you are OK with being below standards.
So yes, this could very well be uncomfortable if you are not having the activity that is required for your position.
If this is the case, the relationship with your boss from your perspective could seem toxic due to the constant discussion over your below standard activity levels, while it is fully warranted.
Therefore, Managing Up is not only critical to the success of your relationship with your supervisor, it is also a wonderful self-accountability tool.
Nobody wants to draft a summary of little to no activity, so if this sounds like you, you have now gained insight from your supervisor’s perspective.
When it comes to managing up, remember this key takeaway:
The person that provides the most value is the person that is the most valuable.