How to Manage Up and Across while Working from Home?

Work from Home and Remote Working
Knowledge Center

Aniket Deolikar
Consultant, India

How to Manage Up and Across while Working from Home?

Quite a few people quit their job just because of their boss. Research shows that around 57% of the people leave their jobs because they thought they had bad bosses. But quitting isn't the correct way to tackle such things. You should learn how to deal in a preventive way with such situations. Once you learn to "Manage Up" effectively, it will make your working life easier.

What is "Managing Up"

Before starting to talk about what managing up actually is, I want to talk about what it isn't. It's totally not about being someone's patsy or hero-worshipping someone. It's not like you have to be always behind your boss and be a yes-man all the time.
Managing up is rather about having and managing an effective workplace relationship with your immediate boss and other people above you in the hierarchy. If you can create a positive and productive relationship with your boss, you can provide the best results for your organization and for yourself as well.

Managing up and Working Virtually (from Home)

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a sudden shift from working at the office to working at home. In these different circumstances, you still have to figure out how to manage the workload you have and at the same time how you will maintain the relationship with your boss etc. Because working virtually is new for many people, they may have to adapt and learn new ways to maintain the workplace relationship effectively.

What are the Main Challenges of Managing Up Virtually?

  • Many managers don't believe in teleworking as they don't trust that the employees are actually working all the time.
  • The Covid change is new for the managers as well; most of them are not trained to be virtual managers. They have to learn on the go.
  • A lot of extra effort is needed when managing up effectively if you and your boss are not collocated. This makes it more difficult to maintain and strengthen the relationship.

Strategies for Managing Up Effectively

  • Always be connected with your manager: Stay on the radar of the boss, keep them in the loop of everything you do. It may require a short call everyday or an email. But you have to let your boss know that you are there and what are you working on.
  • Be transparent about your schedule: You have to be fully transparent about what your schedule is and when you are available. Your manager should know when you are in a meeting and when you are available. You can arrange a shared calendar with your boss. The most important thing here is to be available when you say you are going to be available, because if you are not there when your boss contacts you, it will harm the trust between you and damage the relationship.
  • Understand and adapt to the communication preferences of your manager: Learn when and how many times your boss wants to communicate and adapt to the communication style which your boss prefers.
  • Always reserve some time for getting feedback: Here you should not only get the feedback on the projects you are working on, but also on how your managers thinks the work is being done virtually. This will help you make the necessary changes and improve your productivity while working virtually. You and your manager can discuss which things are going well in the virtual working and what things need changes or improvement.
⇨ Please share any additional ideas or experiences you have on "Managing Up" while working from home. Thanks.

Linda A. Hill and Kent Lineback, "Managing your Boss, HBR guide to Managing Up and Across", 2013
Mary Abbajay, "Managing Up Virtually as an Employee, Managing Up", 2020

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