How to Manage Up: 3 Tips that Will Make You Happier at Work Place

I have been reporting to foreign managers and working with international colleagues since I graduated from college. Here are some tips that I would like to share with you:


  1. Candor triumphs; Solution Wins

I remember seeing this poster on the metro in the United States: if you see something, say something. It is funny how it applies in the work place too.


If you see that something can be improved, bring it up with a solution.


For example, there was an incident yesterday where my client almost didn’t get their training materials on time. It was ambiguous on whose fault it was. I have heard similar incidents that have happened on other colleagues. So, I initiated an internal meeting between the admin, HR, and all the other account managers to improve the material delivery process.


If you have experienced a difficulty, find a solution. When my company computer broke and the data in the hard drive got wiped, I initiated an one hour long meeting with the internal IT staff member to come up with a preventative data backup plan for all the other account managers to prevent future loses. Did he eventually implement the plan? I have no idea. But I did my dual-diligence to try to make a difference.


If you think that something important is not being managed, find the relevant personnel and seek to understand their expertise.


  1. Give Feedback on the Feedback that You Get

I have a great Operations Director who is very good at giving me candid and practical feedback. When I make a mistake, he coaches me by asking questions that lead me to the correct answer. I appreciate his intention, and I really prefer a more direct communication instead of being asked multiple leading questions.


So, I messaged him: “thank you for helping me improve. I would appreciate it even more if you would be straight-forward with me when something needs to be fixed.”


Guess what! He is so great that he did get very direct with me, which is that communication style that I appreciate.


I am very lucky to be working with many great colleagues and bosses who are mindful about their communication styles. If you would like to see a behavior change from anyone, ask for it nicely. You have nothing to lose.


  1. Manage Expectations and Deadlines

When somebody needs something from you, think before you act.


For example, one of my lovely colleagues was asking for my help on creating a pre-training survey link. I could have jumped on it and helped her right away, but I had another meeting to prepare for. I told her that I would be available at 3:00pm if she still needed help by then. When she called me at 2:45pm, I told her that I would give her a call back in 15 minutes. Guess what! I had time to prepare my answers for her and was able to help her at 3:00pm. Both of us were very happy.


When your boss tells you to do something, don’t just do it right away. Ask when does your boss need it by because you have your other priorities to do.

When you need something from others, ask for and/ or give a deadline. Frustration occurs when you ask for somehting “as soon as possible”. Your urgency might not translate well.


Those are the 3 tips that I have come up with. If you need further coaching on communication skills, leadership skills, and such, feel free to send 2BHappy a message. I will be more than happy to help. Subscribe to 2BHappy for happiness related articles and workshops. (1755)


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