We’ve talked before about how team members can manage up with digital analytics. But team leaders have a big part in managing up too. Are you creating an environment that lets your talented team members truly shine? Is your team comfortable giving you feedback, critiques, and new ideas? Does your team make you a better marketer and leader?
As someone who has done the managing up and now needs the managing up, I’m working on creating this open environment. Building psychological safety is a big part of creating a culture for managing up. But there are also some things you can do as a leader to reflect on your own actions and impact.
Talk about your mistakes and weaknesses
Being a vulnerable leader is tricky, but it opens up the doors to better teamwork. When a team member sees that you have a good handle on your own limitations, it closes the divide between you both. It also shows that there are areas where you need to rely on your team to help you out (a.k.a. an area where they can step up and manage up).
Be obsessed with growing their careers
It’s your job to make your team members the best marketers they can possibly be. Part of that is extending trust on projects to let them have control without you. Test the waters with a smaller project and always be there to pick them up if they fall down. When you’re stepping in to help out, be sure to always focus on the future. What should they keep doing moving forward? What can they do to step it up next time? Let them guide when the right time to give feedback is and how they’d like to receive it.
Reinforce managing up behaviour
If you want your team to keep managing up to you, make sure everyone knows that it’s appreciated. Point out when someone helped make your work better. Give public praise to a team member that pointed out when you were wrong. The people who excel at managing up will also become great models of behaviour to the team. Hopefully some day they’ll pass these tips along too.
I admittedly still have a lot to learn about leading a team of brilliant people. But I’m hoping these actions will make it easier for them to point out what I’ve gotten right so far and where I’ve missed the boat.