In today's superheated competitive arena, with problems around us and pressure from above, it is easy to forget that management is a two-way street. When the boss has just heaped more work on your plate or spoken sharply about something that's going badly, it may seem that the force of management moves only from the top down. But it also works the other way, and that is one of the secrets of an effective team and a successful career.
We all have a boss or people we need onside. And they are usually human at one level or another. Remembering this appears to be the key to managing upwards, according to this month's 'From the Top' feature, in which we asked six people at the top of big organisations how they managed their bosses on the way up the ladder and how they like to be managed by the people who work for them now. They stress the importance of communication so that there are no surprises either way, and of shared priorities. They want to hear about bad news fast. Good news can often wait. After all, how often do you have to change your plans because something has gone right? But it was the human factor that was more prevalent in their advice.
We all know it can be lonely at the top. The figurehead, once a member of the team, will encourage subordinates with occasional praise, suggest ideas and lend a helping hand. But in much the same way as a parent, he or she rarely receives praise from below. One of our advisers suggests that we praise bosses, without being sychophantic, if only to earn the right to criticize when we think they are wrong.