How do you get ahead in your job? Managing down and managing up. Many professionals have said that working with their team is often fairly straightforward and rewarding. It’s the managing of their boss and other senior executives, that is more challenging. For more junior staff, the guidelines for managing up can be even more slippery and the concept completely new. How do you earn the trust of your boss and become valuable to them so you receive the rewards you treasure?
If you want to establish a great working relationship with your boss, knowing whatever you can do to make your boss’s job easier is good. Being a young professional, Millennial or Gen Z, guidelines to do this may not be so obvious. Here is the first of three blog posts on how to manage up. This first one focuses on laying the ground work for good communication.
Working with people from different backgrounds, histories, experiences and ages, I promote communication, conversation and connection. When I hear, “those Millennials” or “Okay, Boomer”, I cringe recognizing them as the biases they are: ageism. Whether ageism is used as a bias in rewarding/punishing or communicating, it’s not helpful to anybody and only creates friction, more bad behavior and animosity within your team and your organization. There is no us versus them, there is only us.
When differentiators are obvious to people, they focus on what makes the other people different rather than what makes them similar. It happens with races, cultures, generations, sexes. Those differences in recent times are criticized. What about if they were celebrated? What if those differences were actually talents? Seasoned people have experience and wisdom. Young professionals have a long list of skills.
There’s a lot of shaming about young professionals. You can think it is coming from their Baby Boomer or Gen X bosses who have a lot more life and work experience. That would be the obvious choice. They are not the only ones, however. People born in the Millennial years undervalue themselves and their colleagues just as much as senior professionals. Why? How do you stop this from continuing?
In a team sport, the adrenaline flows fast and easy because there’s a shared natural purpose to want to win. Faced with a survival type of situation whether real or fabricated like in scouts, outward bound, etc. everyone wants to get out of a tough unfamiliar environment. Grouped together in a “Escape Room” people strive to solve the puzzle and escape. Work or volunteer situations, the natural motivation for a closely knit group is not as obvious. Is it realistic to expect group members at work or with unpaid work to be enthusiastic and want to work together?
How do you handle this? You realize a meeting or conversation is all about the other person. What to do? Do you explain their offer isn’t beneficial for you? Ask for what you want from them and see how attentive they are? Cut the conversation short? Some advice when this happens to you…
What are you going to do next when facing frustration? Consider your options. Millennials first natural impulse may be to give up or quit when confronted with challenges. However, one famous artist decided differently. she did not take the easy way out, she persevered. You have the strength to do the same.
An emerging professional wants to be recognized and supported as they are still learning. They have an expectation that they will be seen by their boss in the ordinary course of working together. Is that assumption realistic? Does that person also shoulder some of the responsibility for making that happen? The other side of last week’s blog: https://susangoldbergleadership.com/do-you-know-me/
It’s worth it to make an effort to learn about and appreciate each person you work with. You want the best for and from them, and they will only show you that best if they know someone cares enough to see it. Furthermore, their dedication and engagement in work comes from being happy and being seen as full individuals. You could be responsible for the individuals on your team being encouraged or discouraged. When people are dissatisfied, they leave their bosses not their jobs.