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Managing the Managers…

A few months back I wrote about the values and features of a leader in business and how to be a leader one needs individuals to lead. A collaborative relationship is a necessity to be effective, rather than simply one-way traffic. Listening by both parties to thereby share experience both current and past with resources to hand applied and knowledge to shape decisions does sound like the ideal.

But even a good manager can be wrong on occasion (yes, even here at ABPM!) and could even do with some advice and guidance on how they could be a more effective leader. The challenge, however, is shaping that feedback for an individual who may have more experience or knowledge than yourself or, on occasion, less.

So, how to effectively manage upwards?

The Harvard Business Review defines ‘managing upwards’ as a soft skill involving “being the most effective employee you can be, creating value for your boss and your company.” It is not to be judgemental about your manager and attempting to mould them, nor is it about attempting to take on their role, or going over their heads. Instead, I believe it centres on understanding.

Understanding what your manager is looking to achieve and, consequently, how we can adapt our own behaviours and inputs to align with those objectives. In return, it is important to communicate and make our own delivery and learning styles known to our managers so that, ultimately, colleagues and managers can develop a positive and productive working relationship. The result is a collaboration which encourages positive feedback for both parties and which should result in development for the individuals, the team and ultimately the performance of their organisation.

Here at ABPM we will also guide and advise to align your career objectives as a client or candidate. Do get in touch if a chat would be helpful and, hopefully, we can advance your career or department.


Rej Abraham, Sarah Torrington, Matt Byrne, Alex Handford