Do you know how to ‘manage’ your boss? It is so important to know how and when to discuss important issues that affect you, your career, your glide-path, or anything else that requires your manager’s input, consideration or permission.

There are two skills that you need to master in order to manage ‘up.’ The first one is accepting responsibility for your issues and to initiate discussions with your manager. By accepting responsibility you build your own character and demonstrate maturity.

Unfortunately, we tend to complain about things in the workplace instead of going directly to the one person who has decision-making authority – our manager! We complain that the boss doesn’t care, listen or notice that there is something wrong. The boss doesn’t resolve our issues. No encouragement. There is always something wrong with the way the boss behaves toward us. We don’t accept responsibility to discuss issues openly. Instead, we blame the boss for not noticing or caring.

Fear stops us from approaching the boss. Fear of rejection: “I may lose my job” or hear a ‘no.’ Fear of losing face: “My manager will think less of me.” Fear of losing: “I won’t get what I want.” Fear of the unknown: “I don’t know what the manager will say.”

The fact is that if you say nothing you will have nothing. If you discuss it with your manager there is at least a chance that you will get what you want!

The second skill is preparing for a win-win discussion. How can you get what you want and at the same time give your manager something in return? The best way to approach your manager is to present a possible solution when you reveal the issue. In order to do this, you need to prepare for the discussion. Do your homework to come up with solutions and plan your presentation to your manager.

Prepare for a meeting with your manager:
  1. Check your intentions. If your intentions are not good, don’t expect a good outcome.
  2. Clearly define your issue(s).
  3. Which is the most important to discuss with your manager right now.
  4. Begin with the end in mind. What are you trying to achieve?
  5. Consider solutions that will help you to achieve the outcome you want to achieve. Remember to identify not only what you will gain from each solution but also what your manager will gain. For example, if there is a training course you would like to attend but the budget is tight, point out the benefits of you attending the course and the outcomes of the course.
  6. Be prepared to listen to your manager’s views and opinions.
  7. Negotiation is better than taking a stand. Demonstrate your willingness to compromise.

Managing ‘up’ means that you have the courage to negotiate and compromise to have what you need. Empower yourself!