7 essential rules for managing your manager

Your manager will love it when you show that you can prioritise or work and do an excellent job (Shutterstock)

The relationship you have with your manager plays an important role in growing your career. Follow these rules to get it right.

Making it to work daily, meeting your deadlines and attending meetings is only half the job done. The other half rests with ensuring your manager is happy at all times. Not many people know this, but a significant factor in making a success of your career lies in building a good relationship with your manager.

“Managing up” opens a line of communication between you and your manager, and builds a sense of trust often needed to resolve issues that may arise. If not, these issues may go unaddressed and may eventually lead you to quit your job.

Fortunately, with a bit of strategic planning from your side, you can learn to manage up and figure out how to build a solid relationship with your manager and keep him or her happy. How you do that is by following the rules below for managing your manager:

Rule #1: Know your manager’s goals

When was the last time you asked your manager what their goal and desired outcomes were? If you have no idea about what they are, now is the time to have a chat with your manager. Knowing your manager’s goals will provide you with an understanding of how what you do fits into the team’s overall success. Plus, when you know what you add to the piece of the puzzle, you’ll be more driven to always perform at your best.

Rule #2: Help your manager on their mission to becoming a Rockstar

Remember that your job is to provide support to your manager’s success. That’s part of the reason you are hired. Nobody wants to work with someone who is not going to pull their weight and instead, drag them down. Managers want employees who will make them look like rockstars and help them on their way to success.

So soldier up, and play your part.

Rule #3: Anticipate your manager’s needs

Of course this doesn’t mean having supernatural mind-reading powers. But the brilliant thing is that when you know your manager’s goals and objectives, you’re better equipped to foresee his or her needs.

For example, if you know that during the course of the week, your manager will be meeting with prospective clients to seal a deal, know when these meetings will be and ask if there is anything she may need help with, such as finding out a bit more information about the people she will be meeting.

Rule #4: Think of your manager as a resource

Your manager is there to help you too. Therefore, rather than thinking of him or her as a tyrant, consider your manager as a resource there to assist you with getting your job done. Your manager is there to secure the resources you need to work optimally, she makes decisions in your favour, and considers you whenever there is talk of pay raises or promotions.

Rule #5: Do your job and do it well

You can’t manage your manager if you can’t manage yourself. Your manager will love it when you show that you pull out all the stops to get the job done. When you’re an effective employee – meaning you strive to do an excellent job and prioritise your tasks, it will be obvious to your manager that you truly care about your job.

Always strive to do both.

Rule #6: No nasty surprises

Praying to the God’s above that your manager never finds out about a mistake you’ve made, is setting yourself up for disapproval or a war of words between you and your manager, especially if she is the type who tends to shoot the messenger. Being caught off guard never sits well with any manager.

Read: Reasons why your boss doesn’t trust you

Therefore, when you’re in a sticky situation which will need your manager’s attention, let them in on the problem in advance, and the corrective steps you’ve taken so far. In this way, your manager will be better equipped to deal with the problem.

Rule #7: Never make promises you can’t keep

Although this usually goes without saying, many people find themselves scratching their heads in desperation when they are confronted by their manager for not fulfilling their promises. If you’re guilty of this bad habit, keep in mind that your manager is not there to baby sit you.  

So next time you’re asked to draw up a proposal for a client’s event, rather than promising the moon and the stars, obediently oblige and then blow your manager’s socks off with a killer pitch.

The worst mistake you can make for your career is believing that your manager is a workaholic you need to obey and tolerate. Building a relationship with your manager is your key to job satisfaction and career success.