How do you manage upwards and sideways?

How should we manage relationships with 'authority figures' whether it be it direct reporting line or a 'dotted' line?

Author: Vicki Townsley Published: 29 October, 2014

The first step is to reflect on how we view relationships with our bosses. The context for these relationships has changed and the wide held view of depending on our boss no longer supports today's business realities involving complex and fast paced change.

Few actually realise that 'a boss' depends on her employees and needs their capability, commitment and support in order to succeed. Consider your own teams. If they are successful and happy then you are successful and happy.

The challenge today is that many people have a predisposition toward dependence on authority figures. They look to their managers as the problem solvers, decision makers and planners etc.

The new way of managing upwards and sideways promotes a mutual dependence rather than the view of manager and subordinate. When these relationships are viewed as partnerships working together to achieve results, then the aim will be to influence and improve the performance of both parties.

Achievement thinking and building affiliative relationships is key to developing high performance partnerships.

Here are a few questions to help you to consider what may be working and what may not so that you can improve your relationships:

  1. Are you meeting expectations?
  2. How well do you know yourself? ie strengths, key performance indicators in role
  3. Does you behaviour reflect the values of your business?
  4. Does your boss/stakeholder trust you?
  5. Do you see and understand you boss as a person?
  6. Do you understand your boss and know her priorities as a manager?
  7. Can you identify the strengths of your boss and know how to capitalise on them?
  8. Are you clear about what you want, what your priorities are and what you expect?
  9. Have you discussed your own growth, development and career aspirations?
  10. Do you have cultural differences that might impact on your relationships?

To learn more about how to improve your relationships in order to manage upwards and sideways, please refer to our website services.

business relationships, leadership, positive workplace relationships