Notes on Managing Up

Notes and excerpts from Managing Up

How to Move up, Win at Work, and Succeed with Any Type of Boss

This is a great book that I confirmed much of what I already knew but presented it in a very organized, engaging, and actionable way.  My notes and chosen excerpts are below, but they don't do it justice.  If these resonate with you, buy the book!


Managing up is not about following your boss blindly. It's about making strategic choices to obtain the best results for you, your boss, and the organization.

You can't change your boss. All you can do is change your reaction to your boss. If your boss doesn't know how to manage people, then you have to learn to manage her.

Excelling at managing up means keeping your ego in check.

You want to treat your boss how he or she likes to be treated, not necessarily how you like to be treated. This is about your boss, not you.

Be aware of the pet peeves and hot buttons of your boss.

Introverted bosses

Be ok with silence.  Try counting to eight before filling the space.

Ask open-ended questions

Advancer bosses

When meeting with them remember the Three Bs:

  • Be brief
  • Be business‐like
  • Be gone.

Bring solutions, not problems.

Don't oppose them in public. Present opposing views in private whenever possible. Be ready to support your position and always present your case in service of accomplishing their goals.

Focus on facts, tasks, and ideas rather than people.

Get results and make stuff happen.

Evaluator bosses

They love processes, often including bulleted lists such as the one below:

  • Avoid surprises
  • Be prepared
  • Raise your standards
  • Focus on the facts
  • Slow down
  • Impress with detail
  • Respect the process
  • Manage your emotions

Difficult bosses

Nearly everyone interviewed for this book said their best leadership teacher was their worst boss. The experience may be terrible, but the lessons can be priceless.


What kind of pressures is your boss under?

Develop their trust in you.   Instilling trust means to impart a sense of confidence that you can and will deliver what the boss wants and needs.

Keep them overly informed.

Deliver high quality work every time.

Ask and recap to confirm understanding of direction.

Think about what successful completion means to them.

The Narcissist

Respect, defer, and secure. Demonstrate appropriate levels of respect.

Don’t talk badly about them to others no matter how frustrated you may be with them.

Don't get sucked in. Narcissist are expert manipulators. Try not to get sucked into their orbit.

The truly terrible bosses

Research shows that working for a psycho, crazy, bully, tyrannical, screaming, egomaniac boss literally damages the employee's health. One study in Sweden showed that employees who work for the Truly Terrible were 60% more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or other life‐threatening cardiac condition.

Protect your psyche and take care of yourself.


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