Navigating the labyrinth structures of the corporate world can often be a daunting task. Hierarchical systems, while necessary, can sometimes restrict swift and efficient problem-solving. To conquer these challenges, a specific skill set is required, one of the most important being ‘managing up.’ This post will delve into this vital competency and provide a guide for those who frequently find themselves tangled in red tape.
Unraveling the Concept of Upward Management
‘Managing up’ or upward management is effectively influencing those superior to you within the organization’s hierarchy. This includes your immediate manager, senior management, and even board members. It’s about working harmoniously and communicating effectively with them to achieve shared objectives and navigate through organizational complexities.
Why Upward Management Matters
The power to make critical decisions in many organizations usually lies with those at the top. Therefore, communicating effectively with higher-ups is essential for smooth operations, especially when encountering roadblocks that require their backing to progress.
Upward management fosters strong relationships with superiors and encourages an open, transparent workplace culture. It provides a platform to voice concerns, offer feedback, and share innovative ideas that might go unnoticed.
Here is an example:
Once upon a time, a project manager named Sarah was leading a crucial project for her company. She realized that they were likely to miss their deadline due to unforeseen internal issues. However, she was afraid to deliver the bad news to her superiors, fearing it would reflect poorly on her capabilities. So, she kept the information to herself, hoping to fix the problems before anyone noticed. Unfortunately, the issues worsened, and the project fell behind schedule. When the senior management eventually found out, they were more disappointed about not being informed earlier than the delay itself. If Sarah had practiced upward management, she could have sought their advice or assistance earlier, potentially preventing the project’s derailment.
What to take away from this? Managing in complex scenarios is hard. Competent leaders know when to raise the red flag and ask for help.
Cutting Through Red Tape with Upward Management
Project management is a multifaceted discipline that involves a variety of skills, tools, and techniques. It’s about delivering value, whether it’s through the development of software or the execution of a complex project.
Here are some scenarios illustrating these principles:
Remember! successful project management requires understanding, effective communication, trust-building, proactive initiative, and a solution-oriented mindset. It also takes a backbone and grit. These strategies can help you navigate complexity and deliver successful results.