“Managing up”: the art of managing your superior well

“Managing up”: the art of managing your superior well

Young people speak much more freely about their professional aspirations than their elders, but they are nonetheless eager for advice on how to achieve them. For good reason, many of them feel powerless when faced with managers who ask them to show their involvement by overinvesting in their careers. A situation that the “managing up” method hopes to remedy.

The English expression “managing up” refers to the fact of improving the quality of one’s relationship with one’s hierarchical superior. In other words, to learn to manage your n+1. It is essential to be on good terms with your manager to grow professionally and develop your career. Salary increases, promotions and assignment to interesting assignments are all parameters that your supervisor can influence.

The importance of a good manager/managed relationship

It is therefore better to make it an ally than a source of additional stress. Because, contrary to what one might think, the influence of a manager does not stop at the office. Nearly seven in ten employees say their manager influences their psychological state as much as their spouse or partner, according to a survey by UKG’s Workforce Institute of 3,400 employees in ten countries.

How to make sure that you manage your superior well? First, by establishing a constructive dialogue. The manager/managed relationship is a two-way street and it is therefore necessary to agree on a mode of operation that suits everyone. Explain to him how you work and clarify his expectations and needs. But be careful not to go overboard: agreeing to work unpaid overtime or working during your holidays will not prove your professional involvement so much as your docility. In the long run, you risk being under pressure and exhausting yourself. As professional coach Mari Carmen Pizarro explains on TikTok, managing your line manager must above all allow you “to get what (you) need to do (your) job better”.

@maricarmeninternational Here’s why managing up will work in your favor! #leadershipdevelopment #leadershiptok #careercoach #corporatelife #corporategirl #ceomindset #womeninbusiness #careertok #leadershipskills ♬ original sound – Mari Carmen Pizarro

Manager, a function that no longer makes you dream

While the idea of ​​supervising your manager is nothing new, it is making a comeback on TikTok. The social network is full of videos on the subject, gathered under the hashtag #managingup. The latter has no less than 5.6 million views on the platform, which attests to the popularity of this concept with younger generations. While most professional coaches on TikTok praise the merits of this strategy, some Internet users are much more critical of its interest. “It is not the responsibility of the subordinates to push their direct superior to become a better manager. It is the responsibility of the manager to acquire the necessary skills and access to the tools that will allow him to be a better manager for the members of his team”, explains consultant Kashia Dunner in a video viewed more than 63,000 times on the social network.

@kash.ia i say this as someone who has been a people manager on multiple occassions – if someone has to “manage up” when they report to me, i’m not doing great and need to recalibrate because my actions arent allowing them to reach their greatness. #managingup #badbosses #toxicboss #corporatesaddies #corporatelife #9to5problems #workculture #managersbelike #blackincorporateamerica #accountabilitycheck #gototherapy ♬ original sound

Many Internet users share his opinion. “Beware, if you manage your manager you will end up ‘becoming’ the manager and more responsibility will be given to you when you just needed a good manager,” one commented in another Kashia Dunner’s video on the subject. Because becoming n+1 means taking on responsibilities that many working people no longer want to assume. Two out of three employees do not wish to occupy this position during their career, according to the 2023 edition of the Alan barometer on mental well-being in the workplace. The managers themselves recognize that their profession is more difficult to exercise than before, and therefore less attractive.

It is therefore difficult to find good hierarchical superiors, or even to find any at all. It is in this complicated managerial context that the “managing up” method comes into play. As decried as it is, it has the advantage of drawing attention to the need to create dialogue in business. Whether between employees and their managers, but also those who appoint them. After all, the n+1 are employees like the others and must also deal with a hierarchical superior. Quit having to manage it.