Managing up!

Recently I met with an old friend of mine, A, after a long time. While we were talking, A mentioned that his manager was being non-managerial. I asked him what he meant by that, and he said that he felt like his manager wasn’t communicating properly and that he felt sidelined. He said to me “TJ, I am one of the top producers in a very large company and I don’t know why my manager is doing this.” I asked A if something happened recently that triggered this behavior or has it always been like this because he has never mentioned this before.  A said that he had a meeting with his manager and boss level 2 about how great of a performer he was and they needed more people like him. Here lied the problem, A’s manager was probably worried and afraid about his job security. I told him, that if he loved working for this place and loved his coworkers, he would have to manage up. What I meant by this is that sometimes it’s not just managers who manage difficult employees but also the other way around. If A didn’t want to work for the company I would have told him to start his stealth job search. Now, my friend or any of us want to stay at a company even with a difficult manager, we have to handle this situation very carefully. You don’t want to make the manager feel like you are trying to put them down or gunning for their job. Since A wanted to continue working for this company, he would have to stick it out and see if the situation solves itself. If it does, he comes out on the top looking like a star. I told A, that he would have to focus on doing what he does and do it to the best of his ability. There is something my grandfather told me a long time ago and I try to live by it, “you can only control what you do and no one or nothing else. So why worry about how others are behaving or what they are doing.” If you are in a similar situation, remember you always have options and if you choose to stick it out, focus on your work and what you do.

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