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How To Manage Up Effectively & Take Charge Of Your Career Success

Managing up is an essential part of career success, which involves building a strong relationship with your manager and effectively communicating your career goals and aspirations.

What is Managing Up?

Managing up refers to the process of developing a positive and productive relationship with your manager and effectively communicating your career goals and aspirations to them using communication strategies. It involves taking control of your conversations and opportunities to steer them in a direction that aligns with your long-term career goals.

Managing Up

Why is Managing Up Important?

Managing up is important because you own their careers, and no one else is invested in your success more than you. While managers will invest in your success, they cannot read your mind and know your goals unless they are explicitly communicated. Therefore, it is up to you to tell your managers what you want and where you want to go.

Managers are often juggling multiple priorities and working with several stakeholders. When you take charge, it becomes easier for managers to work with you.

Managing up will have a direct impact on the following areas:

Performance Reviews:

Your manager needs to know what you have accomplished to give you the performance rating that aligns with the work you have done. By making your manager aware of your accomplishments, aligning with them on priorities, and taking ownership, you facilitate effective performance management, ensuring fair and accurate performance reviews.


Your manager is the best person to help you get a promotion. By effectively communicating your aspirations, you can help your manager identify opportunities that will help you reach the next level in your career.


To get good performance reviews or a promotion, you need the right opportunities that stretch you and help you develop the skills you need for the next level. Your manager is the best person to provide you with these opportunities.

Building a Positive Relationship:

Managing up helps build trust and credibility leading to a productive relationship with your manager.

How to Manage Up Effectively?

You can take concrete steps to manage up in a way that feels seamless and aligns with your values. Managing up also requires you to be comfortable advocating for yourself. Managing up requires you to have empathy skills so you can understand your manager and can effectively work with them. When you put yourself in your manager's shoes, you are likely to develop a deeper understand of their motivations and triggers and navigate situations better.

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings:

Maintain a weekly cadence, ensuring both you and your manager stay connected and able to build a strong foundation for career success. You should be responsible for driving the agenda for most of the meeting. Every quarter, you can make it a career conversation where you talk about your career goals and how you want to operate in the next quarter or two. 1:1s should be utilized to discuss problems and brainstorm ideas. 1:1s are not meant to provide project updates.

Ask questions and connect the dots:

Ask your manager lots of specific but open-ended questions. This helps you build awareness of what's going on around you, and it also helps you uncover problems. Asking questions will indicate to your manager that you are curious to learn. Share with them any information based on your knowledge from across the organization,

Solve your manager's problems:

When you uncover interesting problems, ask your manager how you can help. Better, take ownership of the problem to free your manager to focus on other things. When you solve problems for your manager, it builds trust, credibility, and establishes you as a leader for them.

Managing up effectively through one-on-one conversations is a great way to develop a strong working relationship with your manager, build trust and credibility, and advance your career.


If you want to delve deeper into this topic, be sure to check out our podcast where you can listen to the extended version of this discussion


Do you have a difficult manager or find it hard to establish a strong relationship with your leadership? Are you unable to advance in your career in spite of putting in the effort. I can help. Contact to set up an introductory consultation.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does "managing up" mean in the context of career success?

"Managing up" means strategically developing a positive working relationship with your manager by effectively communicating your career aspirations and achievements. It involves taking proactive steps to ensure your career goals align with your manager's expectations and the organization’s objectives.

How can effective "managing up" benefit my career advancement?

What are some practical strategies for managing up effectively?

How do I initiate and maintain a positive relationship with my manager?

What should I do if I disagree with my manager's decisions or direction?

How can I effectively communicate my career goals and aspirations to my manager?

What steps can I take to proactively address conflicts or challenges in the workplace?

How do I ensure that I am taking appropriate ownership and accountability in my role?

What role does feedback play in managing up effectively?

How can I navigate power dynamics and build influence with my manager and colleagues?


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