Do You Have the Courage to Manage Up?

I enjoyed presenting this topic at the Cunningham Center’s Women’s Conference in Columbus, GA this week. I reflected on what it takes to manage up when you need to influence someone else who has power over you (like your boss or Board chair).


The Style Factor:

To master the Style Factor, you first need to be aware of your own style and how you impact others. You also need to identify others’ styles and be willing to flex with your style to create win-win interactions. I referenced the DiSC behavior style assessment as a great tool to learn about styles and using them appropriately.  When you master the Style Factor, you develop situational power and can get along with almost anyone.

The Partnership Factor

Mastering this factor is about creating alignment with others and building relationships grounded on trust. Knowing what keeps your boss (or Chair) up at night, his or her goals and challenges; understanding expectations of projects and your role; and being a credible and exceptional performer makes you an invaluable ally.

The Courage Factor:

The most important factor is using your defining moments well and practicing courageous calculation. You develop this factor by setting goals, creating strong political alliances, weighing the risks and benefits before acting, strategically choosing the right time to act, and developing contingency plans if outcomes are not positive.

I ended the presentation with this quote that sums up why courage is the most important quality to manage up and to seen as a leader:

“Time is a tyrant: inaction is a choice. When uncertainty reigns, the great danger is in stopping to wait until it resolves, if it ever does. Those who instead, take action will influence the outcome.”

 –Tsun-yan Hsieh, Director, Sony Corporation

If you want to see the slides from my presentation, click here, and feel free to share it with others who might benefit from the lessons learned.

How effectively do you manage up?

Cathi Hight