How to Manage Up: Managing Your Boss + Your Future

how-to-manage-up-managing-your-boss-your-future  No matter the level you are in your career – you have a boss. Yes, even CEOs have a Boss… Board of Directors. Many see having a boss as another wall of greatness that you have to jump over to get to the next level of your career. Tis is true, but many people fail to understand how it isn’t your boss decision on how far you can go. This is YOUR career you know?

When you were a child and your teacher or some random person would ask you the question “What do you want to be when you grew up?”. We were able to spit out without blinking that chosen path. As I stated in another post, we had all of the confidence in the world in that chosen role. And as layers of adulthood dimmed that confidence, we wondered the steps to get to that dream. But the beautiful thing now is that you have the power to bridge both end of the spectrum – the desire and the how-to. You CAN have confidence in your path along with creating a blueprint on how to potentially get there.

Often people meet with their boss to discuss a potential issue, solution or the impeccable End of the Year Review. Depending on the culture of your department and/or company, they might even create weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings to touch base on your progress (if not, set them up yourself – no, seriously). How you operate those meetings help in three ways: Your visibility, your growth and of course revenue:

Every position is one of high visibility – it is how you perceive it and make it work for you. Yes, even the janitor can be seen as value. One of the levels for the definition states, ‘the degree to which something has attracted general attention’. To take that deeper, the more you and your skill sets are seen the more attention you get. Yet, depending on how you with various opportunities do could factor in that attention being positive or negative. You get the point.

If you aren’t growing, you are dying. As harsh as this statement is, it is beyond truthful. With managing your boss + your career/future, you have to position yourself for growth. The experience might be delightful, but most of the time there will be growing pains.

Working WITH your boss vs solely working FOR your boss will be a critical factor in your growth.

When working with your boss, it allows them to see how you value your career growth. Networking or Relationships are only valued at a high standard when you show effort consistently. That’s for another post, for another day.

And of course this leads us to revenue. No matter if you are doing something that you love or grown to love, revenue is a factor. Yes, I said it. But as Russell Simmons stated – being rich is all upon personal perception. No matter if it is money, going into management, networking opportunities or branching out – meetings with your boss could lead this and more. And as I mentioned prior, your ‘End of the Year’ review is a major notch in that direction. Meeting with your boss consistently throughout the year will allow you to know how you are within those department/company standards for high level bonuses/positions.



Now that I touched on three of the multiple reasons why managing your career and interactions with your boss is critical to how far you can go. This goes along the lines of creating a relationship with them. As many people call for you to network, you have to let your intentions or passion show within your workplace inner circle.

Need some insight on how to create this Co-Partnership with your Boss through 1 on 1 meetings? Here are 4 starting points in doing so:

  1. Establish a consistent meeting schedule with your boss. Remember how I mentioned that some managers will set various types of meetings to discuss either a problem or your ‘Mid/End of the Year Review’? This goes along with that. You, too, have access to Outlook Calendar or e-mail. Setting this up will allow you manager to see that you actually care about not only your career – but also your part that you play within the team/department/company.
  2. Set standards, set a real agenda. You ever been in meetings that could have been an e-mail? Yeah, let’s build beyond that. Creating at least 5 touch-points that need to be discussed. Need some ideas?
  • Feedback on your last project? Don’t have a project to report on… use this time to ask for more of a visible workload.
  • Ask (months prior) how are you being weighted for your ‘End of the Year’ goals set by management. Don’t wait until weeks prior to make sure you are aligned. This could set you a part of making cents (word play action here)– in reference to either a bonus, raise or lack thereof.
  • Find out what the pulse is of the team or department? Don’t just wait to all-hands meetings or town hall sessions to be in the know. You can then use this a leverage to give perspective – adding to your value.
  1. Be present. This doesn’t just go for these 1 on 1 meetings, but every meeting that you are invited to. Don’t space out, write out what you are taking away from meetings. You can use these notes to call out later on for various reasons. In one position, I wrote down something that saved my department nearly six figures. In your meetings with your boss, take notes on their responses/insight.
  2. Follow Up. Those who follow-up are those who lead in life. An impeccable follow up game can place you in top of mind for many of things. After your 1 on 1, send your boss a follow up e-mail highlighting what you both spoke about. Take it a bit deeper and give action tasks (with deadlines) on some of those topics you talked about. Even if it is about sending an e-mail to another person in partnering department. Being thorough isn’t a crime.


This post is a bit lengthy, but it is one of the things that I have utilized that set me a part from the rest during my career progression. Gone are the days where you could rely on others to help you along. Ownership isn’t just about a house or a car. In every area of your life, professionally included, we have to take ownership to craft that value in which we desire to see. Got any more questions on how to run these meetings? Let me know.

*Inside track: How you run these meetings with just your manager will allow you to be able to handle/run bigger meetings. You will get comfortable and your boss will give you the opportunity to do so. Everything you do cause a reaction towards the next step.



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