Managing up: How to manage your boss

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One of the most common questions I receive is “How can I be taken seriously at work?” Over my career, I’ve asked myself this question.
Dr Lynda Bourne, who gave a presentation at the PMI Global Congress EMEA Dublin, explained one way to build credibility at work.
Let’s talk about managing up.
This article:
What it means to manage up
1. Give the right information
2. Be helpful
3. Be intelligently disobedient
Additional tips for advising up

Dublin Convention CenterWhat it takes to manage upwards
Project managers are not the ones in charge. We work for those at the top of the tree, project sponsors and senior executives.
Management upwards involves managing sponsors and maintaining organizational commitment. It is more accurate to refer to it as advising upwards. This skill is what Bourne states project managers often lack.
She should be aware that she is the author/editor for Advising Upwards. A Framework for Engaging & Advising Senior Management stakeholders, which Routledge publishes under the Gower name. She is also a well-known project management expert and has written books on stakeholder engagement.
Bourne stated that there is no one stakeholder that is more important than another. Customers are not more important that technical staff. Employees are just as important as vendors.
The most important stakeholders right now are those with the highest priority.
You will need to identify the highest priority stakeholder at the moment. It is important to work in a team on a project. Not only does it give you a holistic view of who is the most critical stakeholder, but it also allows you to respond to stakeholder needs with multiple perspectives.
“The only way you can engage senior stakeholders to help you when they are needed is to start early and build credibility.”
Lynda BourneManaging Up is a topic that people have been discussing for a while. It was brought to our attention in 2005 by the HBR article.
These are the top 3 tips I learned from her presentation on managing your boss.
1. Give the right information
Bourne stated that communication is the only way to build these relationships. “There is nothing else.”
Managers are very busy. Managers don’t like surprises. They want to know the truth, but they need it to be specific and relevant to their needs.
It is a way to build trust and credibility. It also helps to make them more credible to their bosses. Bourne stated, “Steer your ship and give them the information they need.”
You can improve your business acumen to better understand your manager and how your project work fits in the overall organization. This is a great way to develop a stronger working relationship with your manager.
2. Be helpful
Information is great, but it’s important to think about what you’re telling them and why.
Bourne stated that the idea of “I’ll just do it a report” will not convince people.
Communication must be:
Purposeful: Why are you writing this report? Is it to change someone’s mind, to get a decision, or something else?
Targeted: Specific to the stakeholder
Appropriate in content and form: Does the exec need a diagram? A spreadsheet? A spreadsheet?
Monitoring effectiveness to assess how attitude-changing is progressing. Is the communication having an impact? If not, you can change it.

Be sure to match their preferred method of receiving information with your communication style.
Be helpful. Recognize that your project may not be the only one. You must help others manage their time.
This will help you build what Bourne calls “credibility”.