What is Managing Up? (With Proven Strategies for Career Success)

Key Takeaways

  • Master the Art of Managing Up: Learn how to proactively engage with superiors, foster effective communication, and build positive relationships to elevate your career trajectory.
  • Proven Strategies for Career Advancement: Discover actionable insights, including proactive initiative, emotional intelligence, and anticipating needs, to unlock unparalleled success in managing up.
  • Empower Your Professional Journey: Implement time-tested strategies to overcome challenges, navigate remote work environments, and achieve career growth through the transformative power of managing up.

Are you looking to skyrocket your career to new heights and unlock the secrets to professional success?

If so, you’ve stumbled upon a game-changing concept that can transform the trajectory of your career—Managing Up.

In this comprehensive and engaging blog, we will delve into the depths of what managing up truly entails, unraveling its mysteries and equipping you with proven strategies that will set you on the path to triumph in your professional journey.

Managing up is not just a buzzword or a fleeting trend in the corporate world—it is a powerful and timeless art that can propel you from being a mere employee to a valued and influential team member.

So, what exactly is managing up? Imagine a harmonious dance where you, as the employee, take the lead, and your boss becomes your perfect dance partner.

It’s a delicate yet dynamic tango of fostering a mutually beneficial relationship with your superior—a relationship built on trust, communication, and a shared vision for success.

At its core, managing up is the skill of proactively navigating your interactions with your boss in a way that not only fosters open communication but also elevates your professional reputation.

By mastering this art, you can create an environment where both you and your boss thrive, accomplishing goals together, and achieving feats that seemed insurmountable before.

In today’s fast-paced and competitive work environment, managing up has become a critical skill that separates ordinary employees from exceptional leaders.

The traditional notion of an employee simply following directives has evolved into a paradigm where proactive and engaged team members are highly sought after.

Companies and organizations now crave employees who can anticipate needs, contribute innovative ideas, and forge strong partnerships with their managers.

Beyond just climbing the corporate ladder, managing up plays a pivotal role in employee satisfaction and well-being.

A harmonious relationship with your boss leads to increased job satisfaction, reduced stress, and a healthier work-life balance.

By creating a positive and constructive dynamic with your superior, you will feel more empowered and motivated to give your best, day after day.

Enough with the enigmatic introductions—let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the treasure trove of strategies that will revolutionize your approach to managing up.

We have curated a compendium of time-tested and proven methods that are sure to amplify your impact in the workplace and propel you towards the summit of your career.

1. The Art of Effective Communication: In the dance of managing up, communication is the melody that guides your steps. We will equip you with the skills to not only express your ideas clearly but also to listen actively and empathize with your boss’s viewpoints. Through constructive feedback and open dialogue, you’ll foster an atmosphere of trust and collaboration, enhancing your relationship with your manager.

2. Navigating the Terrain of Working Relationships: Just as no two dances are the same, understanding your boss’s working style is crucial to tailor your interactions for optimal results. We will show you how to anticipate your boss’s needs, offer support proactively, and build a relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.

3. Seizing the Reins: Taking Initiative and Being Proactive: Managing up isn’t about passively waiting for instructions—it’s about seizing opportunities and taking ownership of your responsibilities. We’ll guide you on how to identify areas where you can add value to the organization, propose innovative solutions, and become an indispensable asset to your team.

4. The Power of Emotional Intelligence: In the dance of managing up, emotional intelligence is the poise that keeps you balanced through twists and turns. Discover how to manage your emotions under pressure, empathize with your boss’s feelings, and resolve conflicts diplomatically, creating a harmonious and collaborative work environment.

Join us on this transformative journey as we unravel the secrets of managing up, and equip you with the tools to navigate the professional landscape with finesse and confidence.

Are you ready to embrace your role as a proactive and influential team player?

Let’s take that first step together into the world of managing up and pave the way to unparalleled career success.

Before we venture further into this article, we like to share who we are and what we do.

About 9cv9

9cv9 is a business tech startup based in Singapore and Asia, with a strong presence all over the world.

With over six years of startup and business experience, and being highly involved in connecting with thousands of companies and startups, the 9cv9 team has listed some important learning points in this overview of the guide on What is Managing Up and some Proven Strategies for Career Success.

If you are looking for a job or an internship, click over to use the 9cv9 Job Portal to find your next top job and internship now.

What is Managing Up? (With Proven Strategies for Career Success)

  1. What is Managing Up?
  2. Proven Strategies for Successful Managing Up
  3. Overcoming Challenges in Managing Up

1. What is Managing Up?

What is Managing Up?
What is Managing Up?

Managing up is an indispensable art in the realm of professional success—an art that empowers employees to build strong and collaborative relationships with their supervisors or managers.

It goes beyond the traditional hierarchical structure, where employees solely follow instructions from their bosses.

Instead, managing up involves proactively engaging with superiors, understanding their needs and preferences, and aligning oneself to work harmoniously towards shared goals and objectives.

The Essence of Managing Up: Fostering Effective Communication

At the core of managing up lies effective communication—the cornerstone of any successful relationship, be it personal or professional.

According to a study conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI), in projects with minimal communication, only 37% were completed on time and just 52% met their original goals. In contrast, projects, where effective communication was implemented, resulted in 71% completed on time and 80% meeting their goals.

In the context of managing up, employees must master the art of articulating their ideas, concerns, and progress clearly and succinctly to their managers.

This can lead to enhanced understanding, smoother workflow, and increased productivity.


Imagine a scenario where an employee, Sarah, is working on a project that has faced a few setbacks. Instead of waiting for her manager’s inquiry, Sarah proactively schedules a meeting to discuss the issues and proposes potential solutions.

Her clear and timely communication not only impresses her boss but also allows them to collaboratively address the problems, leading to a successful project outcome.

Building a Positive Working Relationship: Understanding Your Boss’s Style

To effectively manage up, employees must understand that their bosses have unique working styles and preferences.

Investing time in comprehending your boss’s approach to work can yield substantial dividends in terms of career satisfaction and growth.


John, a marketing professional, observes that his boss values concise reports with visual data representations. In response, John customizes his reports to align with his boss’s preferences, utilizing charts and graphs to present key data.

As a result, John’s boss recognizes his effort and presents his reports as exemplary models to the team, boosting John’s reputation and fostering a positive working relationship.

Taking Initiative and Being Proactive: Becoming an Indispensable Team Player

One of the hallmarks of managing up is taking initiative and being proactive in the workplace.

A survey conducted found that managers believe that taking initiative is an essential attribute for employees to succeed.

By identifying opportunities for growth, proposing innovative solutions, and actively contributing to the organization’s objectives, employees can establish themselves as invaluable assets to their teams.


Michael, a software developer, notices an emerging trend in user preferences that aligns with his company’s mission. He takes the initiative to propose a new feature for their flagship product, showcasing its potential impact on user satisfaction and revenue.

Impressed by his foresight and initiative, the management approves the project, and Michael’s role in its successful implementation earns him recognition and a promotion.

The Power of Emotional Intelligence: Navigating Conflict and Building Trust

Emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in managing up, as it enables employees to navigate challenging situations, such as conflicts or disagreements, with tact and empathy.

A study found that emotional intelligence significantly correlated with job performance, with the strongest relationships observed in roles requiring social skills and interpersonal interactions.


When a team disagreement arises over a critical decision, Emily, a project manager, maintains her composure and listens empathetically to all perspectives.

Her ability to understand and acknowledge her team members’ feelings helps in de-escalating tensions and arriving at a consensus.

This demonstration of emotional intelligence fosters trust and cohesion within the team, positively impacting project outcomes.

In essence, managing up is a multifaceted skill that empowers employees to thrive in their professional endeavors.

By fostering effective communication, building positive working relationships, taking initiative, and leveraging emotional intelligence, employees can unlock the door to unparalleled career success. As you embark on your journey of managing up, remember that it is a continuous process of growth and adaptation.

So, seize the opportunity to nurture your managing up skills and witness the transformative impact it can have on your career trajectory.

2. Proven Strategies for Successful Managing Up

Proven Strategies for Successful Managing Up
Proven Strategies for Successful Managing Up

Mastering the art of managing up requires a strategic approach that combines effective communication, proactive engagement, and emotional intelligence.

In this section, we will explore time-tested strategies that have proven to be effective in fostering successful managing up relationships, supported by relevant data and real-life examples.

The Power of Effective Communication

Clear and efficient communication is the backbone of successful managing up.

According to a survey, 72% of executives believe that effective communication is crucial for the success of their organizations.

When employees communicate with their superiors in a concise and articulate manner, it leads to better understanding, alignment of goals, and increased productivity.


Linda, a marketing specialist, regularly updates her boss, Mr. Smith, on the progress of a crucial marketing campaign.

Instead of sending lengthy reports, she uses concise email summaries with key performance indicators, illustrating the campaign’s success.

Mr. Smith appreciates Linda’s communication style as it allows him to stay informed without being overwhelmed by unnecessary details.

Building Trust through Reliability and Support

One of the fundamental pillars of managing up is building trust with superiors.

In a study by Harvard Business Review, 58% of employees stated that they trust strangers more than their own bosses.

By demonstrating reliability and offering support, employees can create a foundation of trust, fostering a positive working relationship with their managers.


Alex, a project manager, consistently delivers projects ahead of schedule and within budget. He also supports his boss, Ms. Johnson, by anticipating potential roadblocks and providing timely solutions.

As a result of Alex’s reliability and support, Ms. Johnson places her confidence in him and assigns him more critical projects, recognizing him as a valuable asset to the team.

Proactivity and Taking Ownership

Proactivity is a key trait of successful managing up, as it demonstrates initiative and a commitment to achieving organizational goals.

According to a study, an employee’s proactive nature is critical for a company’s success.

Employees who take ownership of their responsibilities and seek opportunities to contribute beyond their assigned tasks are highly regarded by their superiors.


Sophia, a business analyst, identifies an area in the company’s workflow that could be streamlined for greater efficiency. Instead of waiting for instructions, she prepares a proposal outlining the potential benefits and presents it to her boss, Mr. Anderson.

Impressed by her proactivity, Mr. Anderson approves the proposal, leading to significant time and cost savings for the company.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions and empathize with others.

According to research by TalentSmart, emotional intelligence is responsible for 58% of job performance in all types of jobs.

In managing up, employees who possess emotional intelligence can navigate conflicts, provide constructive feedback, and build stronger interpersonal connections with their managers.


When a critical project faces unexpected delays, Mark, a team leader, approaches his boss, Mr. Roberts, with transparency and empathy.

He acknowledges the challenges and proposes a revised timeline while reassuring Mr. Roberts that the team is committed to resolving the issues.

Mark’s emotional intelligence diffuses tension, and Mr. Roberts appreciates his open and understanding approach.

Anticipating Needs and Being Proactive

Anticipating the needs of superiors is an invaluable skill in managing up.

A study found that employees who proactively anticipate their supervisors’ needs have higher job performance ratings.

By taking the initiative to address potential issues and offer solutions before they arise, employees can demonstrate their commitment to supporting their managers and the organization’s success.


David, a sales representative, consistently anticipates his boss’s need for detailed sales reports. Instead of waiting for a request,

David proactively compiles weekly reports with relevant data and insightful analysis. This proactive approach allows his boss, Ms. Walker, to make informed decisions promptly, and she commends David for his dedication and foresight.

Effective managing up is a powerful catalyst for career growth and success.

By implementing proven strategies, such as effective communication, building trust, proactivity, emotional intelligence, and anticipating needs, employees can foster harmonious relationships with their superiors, enhance their professional reputations, and achieve new heights in their careers.

Embracing these strategies not only benefits employees but also contributes to a more productive and thriving work environment overall.

3. Overcoming Challenges in Managing Up

Overcoming Challenges in Managing Up
Overcoming Challenges in Managing Up

While managing up offers numerous benefits for career advancement, it is not without its share of challenges.

In this section, we will explore common obstacles that employees may encounter in their quest to effectively manage up and provide actionable strategies to overcome them.

These insights are backed by relevant data and real-life examples, offering a comprehensive guide to navigate the challenges of managing up successfully.

Dealing with Difficult Bosses

One of the primary challenges in managing up is dealing with difficult bosses.

According to an article, employees reported that their bosses often avoid confronting performance issues.

Additionally, a study found that 58% of employees trust strangers more than their own bosses, indicating a lack of confidence in managerial abilities.

Strategies for Overcoming the Challenge:

a. Seek Constructive Feedback Channels: Initiate conversations with your boss about your performance and ask for feedback on areas for improvement. This proactive approach shows your willingness to grow and develop professionally.

b. Address Concerns Respectfully: If you encounter challenges with your boss, address them respectfully and professionally. Focus on the specific issue at hand rather than making personal attacks.


Emily faces challenges with a micromanaging boss who frequently scrutinizes her work. Instead of becoming frustrated, Emily schedules a meeting to discuss their working dynamics.

She respectfully shares her desire for more autonomy and explains how it can lead to greater efficiency and job satisfaction. By approaching the issue constructively, Emily opens the door for a more collaborative and trusting relationship with her boss.

Balancing Boundaries and Assertiveness

Another challenge in managing up is striking the right balance between being assertive and respecting boundaries.

In a survey by PsychTests, it was found that 43% of employees struggle with assertiveness at work.

Employees may fear appearing pushy or crossing boundaries when asserting their opinions or suggestions.

Strategies for Overcoming the Challenge:

a. Understand Your Boss’s Communication Style: Pay attention to your boss’s communication preferences and adapt your approach accordingly. Some bosses may prefer direct communication, while others may respond better to written reports or emails.

b. Be Confident in Your Ideas: When presenting ideas or suggestions, be confident in their value and potential impact. Back your proposals with data and evidence to demonstrate their feasibility.


Michael, a junior project manager, is hesitant to propose a new approach to his boss, Mr. Johnson, as he fears it may seem too assertive.

However, after conducting thorough research and gathering supporting data, Michael confidently presents his idea to Mr. Johnson.

Impressed by Michael’s well-prepared proposal, Mr. Johnson not only welcomes the suggestion but also commends Michael for his initiative and critical thinking.

Managing Up in a Remote Work Environment

With the rise of remote work, managing up has presented new challenges.

In a survey conducted by Owl Labs, 75% of remote employees in this same survey said team collaboration suffered the most in remote work.

The lack of face-to-face interactions can make managing up more complex, requiring alternative strategies to build rapport and trust with superiors.

Strategies for Overcoming the Challenge:

a. Utilize Virtual Communication Tools: Embrace video conferencing, instant messaging, and collaborative platforms to stay connected with your boss and team members. These tools can mimic face-to-face interactions and foster better communication.

b. Schedule Regular Check-ins: Establish a routine of virtual meetings with your boss to discuss progress, challenges, and goals. Regular communication can help maintain alignment and clarity in a remote work setting.

Also, read more on our tools and tips to improve productivity for remote teams here “5 Essential Remote Work Tips for Boosting Your Productivity” and “Efficient Communication For Remote Teams: Top 5 Useful and Quick Tools in 2023“.


Jason faces the challenge of managing up in a remote work environment. To bridge the communication gap, he schedules weekly virtual check-ins with his boss, Ms. Roberts.

During these meetings, they discuss project updates, address any concerns, and ensure they are on the same page. Their consistent communication and use of virtual tools result in a successful remote managing up relationship.

Handling Competing Priorities and Time Constraints

Managing up can become challenging when employees face competing priorities and time constraints.

According to a survey by Wellingtone, 60% of project managers reported inadequate resources as a significant challenge in project delivery.

Balancing the demands of managing up with other responsibilities can be overwhelming.

Strategies for Overcoming the Challenge:

a. Prioritize and Communicate: Clearly communicate your workload and priorities with your boss, so they understand the scope of your responsibilities. Discuss potential adjustments to deadlines or resource allocation when necessary.

b. Delegate and Collaborate: When possible, delegate tasks to team members or collaborate with colleagues to share the workload. Effective teamwork can alleviate time constraints and ensure successful project delivery.


Sophie finds herself juggling multiple projects while managing up to her supervisor, Mr. Lewis. She communicates her workload and progress regularly, allowing Mr. Lewis to provide support and guidance.

Additionally, Sophie collaborates with her colleagues to streamline tasks, ensuring all projects meet their deadlines successfully.

Managing up may present various challenges, but with the right strategies and proactive approaches, employees can overcome these obstacles and foster successful relationships with their superiors.

By addressing difficulties with communication, assertiveness, remote work, and time management, individuals can unlock the true potential of managing up and create a thriving and collaborative work environment.

Remember, managing up is an ongoing learning process, and adapting to challenges will contribute to career growth and professional success.


As we conclude this enlightening journey into the realm of managing up, we find ourselves equipped with the keys to unlock unprecedented career success.

Throughout this comprehensive blog, we have delved into the core essence of managing up, unraveling its intricacies and shedding light on its profound impact in the modern workplace.

With a plethora of proven strategies and actionable insights, we have discovered how managing up is not just a mere concept but an art—a transformative art that empowers employees to become influential and proactive team players.

The power of effective communication stands as the cornerstone of managing up.

As we have seen through data and statistics, organizations thrive when employees communicate openly, honestly, and proactively with their managers.

The ability to articulate ideas, actively listen, and offer constructive feedback is a potent skill that bridges gaps and fosters mutual understanding, ultimately propelling careers to new heights.

The symphony of managing up reaches its crescendo when employees develop positive working relationships with their bosses.

By understanding managerial styles, anticipating needs, and offering support, employees build trust and admiration, painting a portrait of collaboration and camaraderie that extends beyond mere professional duties.

The canvas of managing up comes to life when employees take charge and embrace the spirit of proactivity.

Stepping beyond the confines of assigned tasks, proactive team members identify opportunities for growth and innovation, becoming architects of their own success and weaving their careers into the fabric of organizational achievements.

Emotional intelligence, an essential hue in the kaleidoscope of managing up, grants individuals the ability to navigate emotions gracefully.

From resolving conflicts diplomatically to empathizing with their supervisors, emotionally intelligent professionals create environments where trust blossoms, fortifying the pillars of career prosperity.

As our journey unfolded, we confronted challenges inherent in managing up.

Dealing with difficult bosses, balancing boundaries and assertiveness, adapting to remote work, and managing competing priorities—all form part of the labyrinthine path to success.

Armed with strategic solutions, we have discovered how resilience and determination are the lanterns that illuminate the way through even the most intricate challenges.

Managing up is not a static skill but a living, breathing entity that evolves with time and experience.

As employees embrace growth, continuous learning, and adaptability, they discover that managing up is an art they can master, an art that transforms careers and enriches professional lives.

As we prepare to conclude this chapter, let us celebrate the newfound knowledge and embark on a journey of continuous self-improvement.

Managing up is a gift—a gift that empowers employees to shape their destinies, to leave an indelible mark on the canvas of their careers, and to orchestrate harmonious symphonies of success.

So, seize the baton of managing up, conduct your career with finesse, and let the resplendent melody of your professional accomplishments reverberate through the halls of your workplace.

Embrace the art, embrace the challenges, and embrace the boundless possibilities that managing up offers—your career awaits your masterful touch.

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People Also Ask

What is meant by managing up?

Managing up refers to the practice of proactively and effectively engaging with one’s superiors, building positive relationships, and anticipating their needs. It involves clear communication, taking initiative, and understanding their working style to foster mutual trust and collaboration for career advancement.

What’s an example of managing up?

An example of managing up is when an employee proactively presents a well-researched idea to their boss, anticipating potential challenges and proposing solutions. By communicating clearly and taking ownership, the employee showcases initiative, gaining the boss’s trust and recognition for their proactive approach.

What are the principles of managing up?

The principles of managing up include effective communication, proactivity, emotional intelligence, building positive relationships, understanding superiors’ preferences, anticipating needs, and taking ownership of responsibilities to foster a collaborative and successful working dynamic.

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