One of the things you must learn in order to become a great manager is how to “manage your manager”.
I can tell you I was not very good at this early in my career, , , primarily because I didn’t understand it, both from the point of needing to do it and also in understanding how to go about it.
Managing your manager’s expectations is just as important as managing client expectations. As with a client, you want to try and position your manager so you and your team always over deliver what the manager expects from you. No one gets upset when you over deliver, , , it’s certainly not the case when you deliver less than what is expected.
Managing your manager means you do things that shows you are:
- Have a vision of what you are trying to accomplish
- Predictable and reliable
- Have a successful track record of delivering what you say
- On time
- Understand the financial consequences of your actions
- Support and develop your employees
- Meet your budget forecasts
- Support your clients effectively
- Role model for others to follow
When your manager brings you a more urgent project, you know how to balance this new initiative with the other projects already committed to. Something has to give so you manage your manager’s expectations so he expects one of the older projects will be delayed or maybe even canceled in order to focus on the new initiative.
Managing your manager also means you are proactive in developing a strategy for your organization and getting it approved. It means working on things proactively that are understood and agreed upon by your senior management team, , , no way to be out of sync when you do.
Managing your manager means you provide your manager material that helps him understand your organization’s accomplishments and essentially “wind him up” with information he can share with other senior managers of the company.
The bottom line is that managing your manager means you constantly position yourself and your team to be able to deliver what you say you will do and when you say it will be completed. When you establish a predictable track record, you will find a huge amount of trust develops between you and your manager, , , and with trust becomes “partnership” status.
Learn to manage your manager well and it will help your career.