Dave Kerpen | 11 Leaders Reveal How They Want to be Managed
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11 Leaders Reveal How They Want to be Managed

11 Leaders Reveal How They Want to be Managed

“Managing up.”

It’s a tricky concept, but even if you’re not the boss, you have an opportunity each day to manage someone – your own manager.

But how do you manage the manager? There are many tricks and techniques in managing up successfully, more of an art than a science, to be sure.

In order to learn more, I talked to 11 leaders from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. They shared with me how they each liked to be managed by their employees. Here’s what they revealed:

 1. Bring Solutions to Existing Problems

I so appreciate it when my staff members come to me with solutions to problems they’ve encountered. That means that often they’ve fixed them before I’m even involved. If I do need to step in, it’s usually just to make a decision on how to proceed.

Elizabeth Saunders, Founder & CEO, Real Life E®

2. Understand Everyone’s Communication Preferences

One of my first practices with direct reports is to share our communication habits to prevent misunderstandings, e.g., “I tend to send emails on weekends, but I don’t expect responses until Monday.” This really draws attention to individual differences and makes managing up more fluid and efficient with each team member.

Sam Saxton, President, Mylen Stairs

3. Get Creative With Systematizing

Not everything it is a standardized procedure. I like the fact that we are all able to come up with new ideas of how can we improve or achieve better results. If somebody else on our team has a better way of how to manage things, why not hear them out? We can totally learn about new procedures, ideas and methods.

Ben Lang, Cofounder, Mapme

4. Take Things Off The Boss’s Plate

Everyone has a different management style — I love it when my employees take on extra responsibilities. I have a lot on my plate, and it’s difficult for me to micromanage. So if you can figure out something on your own, you make my life easier. I often send emails that contain only a subject line and forward emails from clients/vendors with no text and expect that they know what to do without my help.

Andrew Saladino, Co-Founder & COO, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

5. Have Action-Backed Enthusiasm

One thing that differentiates a good person to work with and a brilliant person to work with is the enthusiasm: the enthusiasm for finding solutions, for taking responsibility, and for thinking bigger and better. That enthusiasm, when translated into action, becomes the foundation for bigger, unimaginable things that are possible as a team.

Pratham Mittal, Co-Founder, Outgrow

6. Present the Issue, Goal and Options

Our team knows that the best way to get something approved or acted upon is to identify the issue clearly, state the intended goal, and then give options. Typically, I like having three options with a pros-and-cons list, but sometimes there is only one option to go with.

Peter Boyd, General Guru (aka President), PaperStreet Web Design

7. Act on the Bigger Picture

If employees take the time to fully understand your business model and see the big picture, then they have the ability to enact positive change that can help to set you and your business up for future success. Remedial tasks can be outsourced or automated, but bigger picture vision is something that can really help to separate employees from their peers.

Robert Lee, CEO of Circa Interactive, Circa Interactive Inc

8. “Help Me Help You”

My best employees are the ones that are constantly managing up and reminding me things that I need to get done in order for them to do their job better. It shows that they’re adamant about not sitting around wasting their or the company’s time. Managing up allows my employees and I to develop a relationship the works best for both of us and to maintain efficiency.

Bryanne Lawless, Owner, BLND Public Relations

9. Take Initiative

There’s only so much I can do as a business leader, so I’m counting on my team to find new opportunities to grow the business — especially as it relates to marketing and sales. If someone comes to me with a new idea, I’ll empower them to take action and give them what they need to be successful. It’s absolutely the most valuable way an employee can “manage up.” It’s also a fast track to promotion.

– Brian Lischer, CEO / Chief Brand Strategist, Ignyte

10. Be Clear and Honest

I appreciate it when my team just tells me straight up what’s going on, whether it has to do with a big customer, the product or anything else. Clear and honest communication is what I believe works best in startups, where nobody has time to mince words.

Davy Kestens, CEO, Sparkcentral

11. Understand the Management Structure

In the best corporate culture, there is no managing “up” or “down” but, rather, managing across the organization. We make it clear that everyone is accountable to each other, regardless of organizational position. We institute this style by acting on it from the top down. Our CEO, for instance, is just as accountable to our newest intern as any employee is to another.

Peter Kozodoy, Partner, Chief Strategy Officer, GEM Advertising 

No matter what level you are in your organization, the art of managing up is worth practicing and mastering. How do you manage up? And if you’re the boss, how do you like to be managed? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section below!

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