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Managing Upward: Strategies for Working with your Boss
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Managing Upward: Strategies for Working with your Boss


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  • 1. MANAGING UPWARD:STRATEGIES FOR WORKINGWITH YOUR BOSSSFMI School Facilities Managers’Personnel Management AcademyDecember 8, 2010
  • 2. MANAGING UPWARD IS: Consciouslyworking with your boss to achieve optimum results for you, your boss, and your district Resolvingto bring understanding and cooperation to a relationship between people with very different perspectives
  • 3. MANAGING UPWARD IS NOT: Brown nosing or manipulation
  • 4. WHAT WE’LL BE COVERING The importance of seeing the big picture – from your perspective, from your boss’s perspective, and from your boss’s boss’s perspective Public policy or how to make big decisions in the public sector Strategies and guidelines to manage your situation with an upward perspective that engages your boss constructively
  • 5. WHAT IS “THE BIG PICTURE”? Knowing where you are in the organization and the roles and responsibilities of your peers, your boss, and your boss’s boss Staying aware of the forces at work in public education and your district’s strategies for dealing with them Developing an understanding of the pressures and deadlines your colleagues are facing Avoiding a silo mentality with a near exclusive focus on the facilities function
  • 6. The Managing Upward Organizational Chart Taxpayers Board of Ed School Super SBG Supervisors Staff
  • 7. PUBLIC POLICY AND WHY IT MATTERSTO MANAGING UPWARD Fancy name for public decision-making An organized way of assessing the big picture as you approach a big decision Entails a “who, what, where, when, why, how” review that looks up and down, inside and outside the organization Prompts you to understand the interests and motivations of your boss and your boss’s boss
  • 8. PUBLIC POLICY 101 StructurContent e What Who Why Where Process How When
  • 9. STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING UPWARD Commit to two-way communications Provide solutions, not problems and no surprises Be honest, trustworthy, loyal and committed Know your boss’s agenda and priorities Understand the boss’s management style Use the boss’s strengths and compensate for their weaknesses Don’t go over the boss’s head Walk a mile in their shoes
  • 10. COMMUNICATIONS Listeners vs. Readers Adapt to the boss’s preferred approach Two-way communications Importance of asking questions Repeat and confirm understandings Seek regular feedback – don’t wait for an annual appraisal
  • 11. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
  • 12. SOLUTIONS, NOT PROBLEMS There are always problems to report Professionals suggest solutions to problems Don’t get labeled a whiner
  • 13. BEST SURPRISE IS NO SURPRISE Report regularly on important jobs and issues Highlight emerging or potential problems Suggest contingency plans
  • 14. BE HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY Honor commitments and schedules Don’t cover up problems - bad news ages poorly Be diplomatic and tactful Become the “go to” person on the team
  • 15. BE LOYAL AND COMMITTED You owe the boss loyalty and commitment Your boss owes you support Respect the boss’s position even if you are having a hard time respecting the person
  • 16. KNOW THE BOSS’S AGENDA What are they trying to accomplish What are their priorities Why are these things important Never assume – ask questions Get in synch with their motivations Don’t wait for them to tell you
  • 17. GET IN SYNCH WITH THE BOSS’SMANAGEMENT STYLE Reports – Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Big picture? Or details? Specific format? E-mail? Oral? Memo? Meetings – Like? Dislike? Meet early? Lunch? Late? Don’t assume – ask Try to meet expectations
  • 18. BEWARE OF HOT BUTTONS AND PETPEEVES Late to meetings? Spelling and grammar? Playing the radio too loud? Foul language? An item may appear trivial to you, but ignoring it could poison the relationship
  • 19. Management “Style”
  • 20. USE THE BOSS’S STRENGTHS Tap into the boss’s expertise when needed  Big picture?  Communications?  Creative problem solving?  Resource management? BUT  Respect his time constraints  Treat as a limited resource
  • 21. COMPENSATE FOR THE BOSS’SWEAKNESSES Determine where the boss may need support  Budgeting  Preparing presentations  Explaining technical issues Try to make work life easier for them
  • 22. DON’T GO OVER THE BOSS’S HEAD Almost always poisonous to the relationship Always try dealing with manager first Possible exceptions  Manager ignoring a serious problem  Possible illegality  Possible illness or substance abuse problem  Sexual harassment Tread very carefully, document everything, and maintain confidentiality
  • 23. WALK A MILE IN THEIR SHOES Seekto understand aspirations, pressures and constraints, strengths and weaknesses Look for commonalities upon which to build a productive relationship
  • 24. IT TAKES A PROFESSIONAL Managingdown = Managing department and employees Managing up = Managing the situation and relationships with superiorsA true professional does both