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How to connect with your manager at work

Maggie Stamets is a writer for BUILT BY GIRLS, which prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step into their power and break into their careers. WAVE is the backbone of BUILT BY GIRLS: it’s a 1:1 matching program that connects high school and college students with top tech professionals across the country. For more information and to sign up check out builtbygirls.com.

Managing is a skill that many people don’t have. If you’ve had multiple jobs or been managed by multiple people, chances are you’ve experiences sub-par management. 

That doesn’t always mean your manager is mean or aggressive outright, more often it’s simply that you manager isn’t invested in your success, uplifting you for career growth opportunities, or taking much interest in you at all. 

While this is frustrating and unfair, it’s your career that may suffer from their poor managerial skills — not theirs. So it’s important for you to take matters into your own hands and “manage up.” 

(Photo: Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash)
(Photo: Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash)

Here are a few ways you can take charge of your own career and build a more supportive relationship with your manager (whether you like them or not):

Get to know them and find common ground

Chances are there is something you two have in common, it’s your mission to find it. Put time into getting to know your manager as a person. 

Find out where they are from, what they’re into, how did they end up where they are? This will help you connect with them on a deeper level and develop some mutual comfort.

Keep in mind it is your job to help them do their job well

They want the best possible people on their team. So come to them armed with all the wins that make you a stand out. 

An office manager sitting at a large desk and talking to his employees during a morning meeting.
An office manager sitting at a large desk and talking to his employees during a morning meeting.

Self-reporting success is the love language of all managers especially when you show how your work is rolling up into their large goals. Take some time to familiarize yourself with their goals, objectives, and desired outcomes. That way you can discuss how your projects are helping them reach these.

Do your job well and know your strengths

Your manager wants a team they can brag about to higher ups. So focus on excelling in your role. Then go above and beyond by informing your manager what you special skillset it. 

For example, if you are a whiz at creating presentations that aren’t just visually appealing but also tell an effective story, show your boss this skill. Make yourself the go-to deck person. It seems small but being the person who helps your manager effectively communicate will make you invaluable.

Keep them in the loop

There’s nothing more annoying to a busy manager than being taken off guard and having to answer for a situation they were unaware of. 

Plus, this allows you to get ahead of the situation and explain the moves you’re making to correct the issue.

Attractive young mentor businesswoman conducts coaching in boardroom at company meeting. Confidence woman training corporate team at briefing. Young employee share thoughts standing at table.
Attractive young mentor businesswoman conducts coaching in boardroom at company meeting. Confidence woman training corporate team at briefing. Young employee share thoughts standing at table.

Make your needs match their goals

When you need something from your manager tell them why it’s good for them. 

How does helping you get the company to pay for you to go that conference help them reach their goals? How will putting you on that project improve the outcome? It’s much easier to say yes to something when they can clearly see how it’s a win for them.

Directly ask for what you want

When you’ve proven how valuable you are and established a great working relationship, you can be direct with them. When a role opens up that you want, shoot your shot and ask for what you deserve.

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Yahoo Money sister site Cashay has a weekly newsletter.

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