Improving your team by teaching employees to manage up

Do you wish your employees were more proactive? Teaching both current employees and new hires to manage up may be the answer.

Managing up is a philosophy based on employees building positive relationships with their supervisors. The concept was defined by author Joanne Murray in her 2008 book, Managing Up, An Overlooked Factor in Career Success. While managing up helps employees advance, you’ll also benefit from the extra help working toward their own objective.

What are the benefits of employees who manage up?

These employees will listen to your words, read your emails and react to them in a way that helps you meet your business goals. Other important benefits include:

  • Cultivating a positive influence within your team
  • Finding problems, in staffing or workflow for example, and proactively correcting them
  • Understanding the wants and needs of other employees
  • Covering their responsibilities, as well as other tasks that need to be done.

What to expect from employees who manage up?

If you aren’t familiar with managing up, you may not recognize the traits. Here are some of the things you can expect from employees who manage up:

  • They offer solutions, as well as opinions
  • They’re interested in your goals for the business
  • They ask thoughtful, big picture questions
  • They seek out new responsibilities

How can I help my employees learn to manage up?

Knowing you want your employees to manage up is one thing. Knowing how to make that happen is another. Luckily, human resource professionals offer a few suggestions:

  • Discuss concepts related to managing up during the interview with potential new hires
  • Ask employees to read Managing Up, An Overlooked Factor in Career Success or other books on the topic
  • Create strong employee-manager relationships with these tips from  The University of California Berkeley

It’s also important to communicate these changes to your team. Need a strong communication tool to do so? Sign up for Homebase and get started with our Team Communication feature to effectively work with your team and help them manage up the right way.

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