4 things you need to know about managing your manager

Having a good working relationship with your boss may not be an explicit requirement to succeed, but it’ll definitely make your work life more bearable.
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The gradsingapore Team
Elliyani Mohamad Ali
Chief Editor, gradsingapore
4 Things You Need to Know About Managing Your Manager_cover image

Everyone tries to create their own sense of happiness at work, whether that means making friends at the office or taking some time off during lunch to go on walks at a nearby park. After all, it’ll make the time go by much faster at work when you’re not counting every minute. But there’s also one thing that can help make your work life more enjoyable, yet requires some skill – and that’s learning how to manage up.

Simply put, managing up is all about establishing a positive working relationship with your supervisor/manager/boss, as well as helping to make things easier for them. Sure, you can still be happy at work and succeed in your career if you’re exceptionally good at your job to the point that the team can’t function without you. But for the most part, developing the right soft skills when it comes to dealing with bosses can go a long way in enjoying our jobs.

However, keep in mind that having a good relationship with your boss doesn’t mean sucking up to them or manipulating them to do your bidding, though. It’s about building mutual respect, trust and collaboration.

4 things you need to know about managing your manager_how managing up helps your career

Fine-tuning your communication skills

Let’s face it, given a choice, we’d generally prefer to avoid our bosses. From being afraid of saying something wrong to making mistakes in their presence, it’s easy to feel like you’re being judged whenever you’re being questioned, struggling to find the right responses on the spot.

While this feeling is normal, every conversation with your boss doesn’t always have to be such a dreaded moment. Train your mindset to look at them as opportunities to learn, show your skills and build rapport. Having a positive relationship with your boss will go a long way in helping you kick off your career.

4 things you need to know about managing your manager_positive relationship

Always do your homework

When you’re in school, it’s normal to do extra credit on top of your current schoolwork to stand out from your peers or to graduate earlier. Similarly, when you’re a working adult, you’re encouraged to do more than just the bare minimum in order to level up in your career. By showing your initiative and drive, it shows your boss that you’re giving your best in your job (and probably deserving of the upcoming bonus and even promotion).

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Bring your whole self to the table

There’s more to work than just clearing your daily tasks and taking your leave the moment the clock hits 6PM. Rather, you should take the opportunity to not just manage your current goals, but develop your long-term ones as well. This means building up your current skill sets while looking into other competencies you wish to develop.

This is where your boss can come in. Chances are, your boss has more experience and more wisdom, and can be an excellent mentor to help you as you start the first leg of your career.

4 things you need to know about managing your manager_mentor

Don’t just try to please your boss

Once again, managing up isn’t about being your boss’s favourite pet. You shouldn’t be bending over backwards and working overtime everyday, thinking this is what managing up is all about (because it isn’t!). It’s about treating your boss like a person and developing a positive relationship with them.

4 things you need to know about managing your manager_extra tips

There’s no denying that knowing how to manage up can be beneficial for both parties. However, it may not be possible for every type of environment. For example, if you find that your workplace is toxic with poor management, managing up isn’t going to do you any favours in the long run (rather, just walk away if you can).

On the other hand, if you plan on staying with a company for the long haul, setting your relationship with your higher-ups on the right foot can be a major benefit. Essentially, the best way to show your sincerity is not just doing your job, but by simply treating everyone with respect and kindness.