The Art of Managing Up, Out and Down
Have you struggled to get a promotion or receive recognition in the past? This month I will focus on the keys to securing your next raise or opportunity by sharing some of the secrets of getting hired, getting recognition and getting ahead at work.
Most of us were raised to believe that “it’s not polite to brag” or that “you shouldn’t toot your own horn.” Then the reality of the work world sinks in once you realize that keeping your head down and doing a great job isn’t nearly enough.
You must master the skills of managing up, managing out and managing down. Communicating with executive management (managing up) takes a different thought process and set of communication skills than influencing peers (managing out). Likewise, it takes a different skill set to lead staff to accomplish team goals (managing down). While there are important communication and social skills that apply at every level, you need a mastery of these three skills in order to succeed.
One key to career mastery is learning effective positioning on the job, while avoiding the dangers of succumbing to negative office politics. Focus on these areas and you will find your career moving in the right direction:
• Hone your priorities to align with the stresses and pressures that your boss faces so you can make him or her look like a rock star,
• Understand the motivations and different communication styles of your peers so you can build bridges and boost your influence, and
• Inspire, engage and hold your team accountable to individual, team and company goals
Let’s take the case of Sally (not her real name) who joined a technology start-up as a graphic artist and their eighth employee. As the company grew, Sally took on the role of supervisor of the fledgling marketing department. At first, she struggled to separate her friendships with former peers from her new role as manager of a team with demanding deadlines on multiple marketing campaigns. Sally had to learn how to hold her team accountable and delegate effectively without micro-managing.
Over time, Sally expanded her marketing skills significantly and showed a real impact on the company’s revenues. Her willingness to lead the charge on integrating traditional and technology-based marketing tools led to a promotion to marketing director.
Later, when Sally was promoted to the role of Chief Marketing Officer, she faced a new set of challenges. Now she had to learn about the challenges faced by the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Technology Officer and VP of Human Resources. In addition, she spent more time reporting results to the CEO. In order to influence the decision-making of her peers, she learned to empathize with their challenges and present solutions that made business sense to them, and the CEO. She had to think more strategically and inspire her team to produce at a higher level of engagement and productivity.
No matter your level in the organization, it pays to improve your promote-ability score. Your goal is to increase your hire-ability, promote-ability, strategic thinking and influencing skills.
Master these skills and they will help you get hired, get recognized and get ahead.