Skills 360 – Managing Up 1: Working with your Boss

Skills 360 - Management English: Managing Up (1)

Welcome back to the Business English Skills 360 podcast for today’s lesson on English management skills and managing up.

There’s an old saying that people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. And according to a recent study, 65% of people would choose a new boss over a pay raise. Without a doubt, our job satisfaction is heavily influenced by the quality of our boss.

But if your boss doesn’t understand you, or doesn’t know how to manage you, or is outright incompetent, you don’t have to suffer in silence. In fact, even people who have great bosses can benefit from what we call “managing up.”

So, what do I mean by managing up? Well, on a basic level, managing up is all about teaching your boss how to be a good manager to you. It’s about improving communication, understanding, and collaboration so that you both benefit from the working relationship.

A lot of us are stuck in a particular way of thinking about power, in other words: your boss has it, and you don’t. But you need to think about your relationship with your boss as one in which you have choice and agency. You can influence outcomes and behavior and improve your work life by improving understanding.

When we manage up, we acknowledge that different people have different ways of communicating, behaving, and working. And we work to understand our boss’s particular style and approach. Think deeply about her expectations, her needs, her preferred communication style, and her goals. Once you have this understanding, then you can adapt.

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