How You Can Master the Art of Managing Up

I tell members of my career mentoring site that they need to become adept at managing up.  This article shows you how to use questions to do exactly that.

Questions are a powerful conversation tool.  Tweet 109 in my career success book Success Tweets suggests that you listen 2/3 of the time and speak 1/3.  Questions are the best way to get a conversation going and to keep it moving forward.  They allow you to spend more time listening than speaking.

Listening and responding appropriately is the key to managing up using questions.  If you listen in a way that causes your boss to feel heard, you’ll hear things right the first time, maintain his or her self-esteem, build a strong  relationship, see and understand the nuances of his or her point.

Stop thinking about response.  Listen to understand.  Lean forward, tilt your head a little, give some eye contact.  Don’t glance around or act bored, disbelieving, or disagreeing. Just listen to the person who is talking, remember what he or she says, and say some of it back.

Don’t quit listening if you don’t like what you’re hearing. Pay attention to get complete information. Try to make sense of what the other person is saying, even if you don’t agree.  Pick your battles. You’ll create calm for both of you — and the other person will more likely listen to you also.

Follow these listening rules and you’ll build a great relationship with your boss and become a master of managing up.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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