If you are like most people, you want to look good in front of your boss.Adding the skill of managing up to your career toolkit can make a big difference in achieving success. So, what is managing up?

According to Joanne Murray, author of Managing UP: An Overlooked Factor in Career Success, “managing up means focusing on the relationship with your boss to obtain the best results for yourself, for her and for your organization.”

Rosanne Badowski, co-author of Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship With Those Above You, says that “when someone tells you that you need to ‘manage up,’ what he or she is really saying is that you need to stretch yourself. You need to go above and beyond the tasks assigned to you so that you can enhance your manager’s work.”

When you manage up you “get” your boss. You understand where she is coming from, what she is looking for, and then distinguish yourself by exceeding expectations. You are all about results, successes and goal achievement, and avoid focusing on problems, complaints, roadblocks and obstacles.

Managing Up: Do’s and Don’ts


  • Keep your boss in the loop.
  • Focus on where you are succeeding rather than where you are floundering.
  • Be positive.
  • Bring possible solutions to problems.
  • Talk about results.
  • Communicate information in the way your boss likes to hear it. (If your boss is a numbers person, talk about the data. If your boss prefers memos, write your message.)
  • Ask for additional assignments that will add value to your team/organizational results.


  • Dwell on minutia.
  • Talk about how hard you are working, how late you are staying, or how you had to do someone else’s work or pick up the slack.
  • Dump problems on your boss’s desk.
  • Do an end run around your boss.
  • Throw your co-workers under the bus.