How This Handy Career Hack Can Make Work Way Less Stressful

By Emma Edwards
28th Jun 2021

a woman wearing sunglasses laughs, leaning against a balcony.

When you’re faced with a difficult relationship with your boss at work, it can make life way worse than it needs to be. We spend so much of our waking hours at work, thinking about work, or traveling to and from work, so dealing an overstretched boss (or a downright incompetent one) can have a really negative impact on our overall wellbeing. Luckily, there is something you can do. We’re spilling the tea on how to use the concept of managing up to have a better time at work.

What Is Managing Up?

Managing up is essentially using the traits of a good manager to get the best out of yourself as an employee. By making your manager’s life easier, you improve the dynamic between the two of you, and learn how to work to one another’s strengths.

Managing up isn’t about manipulation, nor is it about doing more work. The key to effectively managing up is understanding how your manager works and what they need from you, in order to align your work style with their management style.

How Can I Use Managing Up With My Boss?

There are a number of ways you can manage up at work. First, start observing how your boss works and what their needs are. What systems please them? What do they like, and what don’t they like? Then, start thinking about how you can apply that logic to your role. Remember, it’s not about sucking up. It’s about being effective and giving your relationship the best chance of flourishing. By tailoring your working style to anticipate their needs, you’ll quickly become someone they can rely on, therefore making you easier to manage.

Be Open With Your Career Goals

Good managers support their employees’ career and skill development, but that’s only possible if they know what you want. Help them help you by being clear and open about areas of the role or business you’re interested in, things you want to improve, and how you learn best.

Prioritise Consistent Communication

Some managers love texts. Others need everything in an email. Some hate all digital communication and prefer a good old-fashioned phone call. By finding out which methods of communication make your manager tick, you make it easier on both of you. When you know how best to reach them, you get the answers you need, and they get the communication method they need. Good moods all round!

Reinforce Managerial Behaviours That Suit Your Working Style 

In the same way you anticipate your boss’ needs, allow them to do the same. When they manage you in a way that aligns with your own work style, tell them. This can help reinforce that behaviour and allow you to be managed in a way that works for you. A big part of this is often in how feedback is delivered. By being clear and honest about how you like to receive feedback, you’re making their lives easier as well as your own.

When Should You Manage Up?

Managing up can be really effective with new bosses or following restructures, because it’s also a helpful way to get to know one another. If you’re dealing with a boss you’ve worked with for a long time, it’s still a valuable tool, but may require a more considered approach to gradually mould the relationship into something more mutually beneficial for both of you.

Ready to make your work life less stressful?! Go forth and start discovering what makes your manager tick. While you’re at it, try these six handy ways to make the next financial year your best yet.

Image Credit: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

Emma is a finance blogger at The Broke Generation and a reformed spendaholic. She shares hot tips on saving, property, tax, career and investing for millennials who want to break the spending cycle and get financially confident.

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