Manage your career by ‘managing up.’


As an administrative assistant you depend on your manager for direction and guidance, but they depend on you just as much. Classes in school don’t cover the topic of ‘managing up,’ but it can certainly be learned if you’re willing to work at being in-tune with your boss and communicating effectively.

Managing up is being proactive as opposed to reactive in regards to the goals and needs of your managers and teams. With experience, administrative assistants can become masters at managing up, and if you’re not quite there yet, Adecco will get you there with these simple and practical tips!

  • Always anticipate.
    Managers are juggling as much or more as everyone else - the only difference is that you’re there to help them, and you can do so by anticipating how you should react to a scenario. If you can achieve the act of thinking like your boss, you will always be appreciated and hopefully rewarded for leaving them so little to think about, especially in stressful situations.

  • Ask good questions.
    When you take the time to ask questions about a newly assigned task, you will avoid slip-ups and asking questions once it’s too late. When faced with an assignment - analyze, evaluate, and make sure nothing is vague. The end result will be work that is done right the first time. Be prepared with the meaningful questions that you can’t find the answers to yourself and come with suggestions to any problems that may arise.

  • Befriend the boss.
    You don’t have to socialize with your manager on the weekends, but getting to know them a bit more will help you in your job as well. Make it a point to book a lunch or a coffee break with your boss to just talk and discuss things such as interests, hobbies and family so that you’re knowledgeable about their lifestyle, and that they know a bit more about you.

  • Communicate cautiously.
    A person who manages their manager will understand what their boss needs to know and what should be passed off as insignificant. You don’t want to seem like a time-waster, so keep it to the most important information only, but ALWAYS be honest. Communicating concerns to your boss should also be done most gingerly - don’t make an issue about anything you can reasonably handle yourself, but make sure your boss is always in the loop with any ongoing situation that has the potential to escalate.

  • Don’t let them forget you. Once you get into a particularly comfortable place with your manager they may leave off the “thank you” or the recognition because they know how good you are. This doesn’t mean that you’re not appreciated; it just means your manager needs a gentle reminder of all the great work you’re doing.

A little self promotion is good for the ego and let’s your manager know that all of this good work isn’t getting done on its own. Maybe a weekly recap of accomplishments will put your manager in perspective about how much you actually do. If you feel it’s time for a raise or promotion, the open and honest relationship that you’ve already forged will make it easy to talk to your boss about what it will take to maintain your job satisfaction.

  • Assure them they can depend on you.
    Never let your manager ask you where they should be or what time their meeting is - always keep them on top of what they have to do. It can be difficult enough to manage your own responsibilities as well as someone else’s, but it’s most important to make sure your boss doesn’t miss a beat. If they look good, it will look good for you and your career.

Building trust with your manager will ensure satisfaction from both parties – they will be inspired by your intuition and initiative, and will make sure you grow in your career, while you will be well on the path to success in your job.

For more great career success tips, be sure to connect with your local Adecco representative today!