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G2: Building the Next Generation by Philip Palaveev

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CHAPTER 8Managing Up

The process of management is not limited to coordinating the goals and activities of those who report to us. An important side of management is the ability to steer the information, expectations, and suggested actions of those who are above us on the organizational chart. To be successful in a career, a professional has to both manage down (i.e., work with subordinates) and manage up (i.e., work with superiors).

The idea behind managing up is somewhat counterintuitive. Professionals often assume that the founders or executives of the firm somehow have a perfect view of all the information that they need to accurately make decisions or assess performance. Unfortunately, the opposite is often true. The CEO of the firm may not have good information on a situation or your performance. Younger professionals also assume that the burden is on the firm to gather accurate information. Again, that is not realistic and often not practical.

Beyond information flow, another reason to manage up is that often the leadership of the firm is either not fully aware or accurate in its perception of your interests, talents, or skills. Suggesting initiatives you want to be part of may be necessary to make sure that your responsibilities match your interests and that you are not assigned to the wrong projects.

Managing up is also a process of signaling your preferred pace. It is about letting the firm know how fast you would like to move and what challenges you are willing to ...

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