November 20, 2017
The first role after graduate school is new, exciting, and at the same time, challenging, in many ways. The excitement comes with learning the campus culture (if applicable), meeting new people, and of course, learning the position. One of the most important things to learn, and often most complex steps, is learning about your new supervisor. As a recent graduate, you bring your own work ethic, professional style, and preferred supervisor-supervisee relationship into your new role. In comparison, your new supervisor has all of those same thoughts and feelings as you come to be their new supervisee.
In certain instances, you may have a supervisor who you may think is absent in their current role. This could happen due to your supervisor being stretched too thin with work, going through a personal crisis, disinvested in their role, supervises too many employees; and so on and so forth. As a supervisee, and especially a new professional, who is invested in their work, being transparent with your supervisor about your need for an effective and supportive relationship could change your experience in the role. Depending on the reasoning behind your supervisor’s absence, there may be no change in your supervisor-supervisee relationship. Overtime, you may feel discouraged to continuously bring up your needs, desires in the position, and see no change.
In order to mitigate this conflict, some supervisees would start managing up in their role. According the Human Resources department at UC Berkeley, managing up is the skill to which one knows “how to consciously work with [their] boss to obtain the best possible results for [themselves], [their] boss, and the organization [they] both work for” (Relationship-Building: Managing Up). McCord (2015) also notes that managing up is mainly about “supporting your supervisor’s efforts and goals by identifying and sharing ideas for growth.” Managing up can be accomplished in many ways, and below are the three best ways I’ve seen it put into practice.
All in all, managing up is a great way to get what you need our of your supervisor-supervisee relationship. Of course, the need to manage up is subjective and should not be done so because you are in opposition with your supervisor and their style. Managing up should be established on the basis of growing in your role and supporting your supervisor. If both of these ideas are set as the foundation for managing up, then doing so will make yourself, and your supervisor, look good as well.
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Autumn Taylor is an Assistant Director in Student Housing at Loyola Marymount University. She is a proud Los Angeles native and attended UCLA and USC for her undergraduate and graduate degrees, respectively. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, dancing, and doing outdoor activities. She can be reached at [email protected].
McCord, S. (2015, April 10). Managing up 101: How and when to take initiative at work. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2015/04/10/basics-managing-up/#Bi3l3H4wcEqz
Relationship-Building: Managing Up. (n.d.). Retrieved November 06, 2017, from https://hr.berkeley.edu/development/career-development/career-management/relationship-building/managing-up
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