Managing your manager made easy!!

I’ve worked with more than 20 managers so far. All of them had different working styles, communication preferences, and team management practices.

Despite the differences, I was able to work exceptionally well and forge solid and meaningful relationships with all of them.

Managers have the most influence and power to shape their team members’ careers. Building solid relationships with them will help you learn and grow at an accelerated pace, as it did for me.

Looking back at all those relationships, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three things that helped me manage my manager like a pro:

1. Visibility
2. Transparency
3. Trust and confidence


What does it mean:

Visibility refers to creating systems and processes to share with your manager progress and updates on your work in a timely, accurate and comprehensive manner.

Why is it essential:

1. It helps your manager measure the effort you’re putting in
2. It enables your manager to validate the methods you’re using or to course correct when you’re not on the right path
3. It gives your manager the required details to gauge your performance and your work’s impact


What does it mean:

Transparency means that you openly share the real reasons behind your actions.

For example: If you’re unable to make progress because you don’t know what to do next, be transparent and let you manager know you don’t know. Ask her for help. Do not be under pressure to find the answers alone.

Even when you’re making good progress, share with them the methods / approach / best practices that helped you make progress.

Why is it essential:

While visibility helps your manager know what you’re doing, transparency helps them understand why you’re doing it.

Knowing the why will help them uncover your strengths and weaknesses. That, in turn, will help you identify your opportunity areas and grow.

Trust and confidence

What does it mean:

For any relationship to work, trust is critical. And that is true even for a professional relationship with your manager.

The question is, what does trust mean in the PM-Manager context. The answer to that is straightforward. But, executing that is not as straightforward.

Trust means that the:

1. PM delivers on her commitments
2. PM lets her manager know if and why she’s unable to deliver
3. PM proactively surfaces potential risks, issues and blockers
4. PM shares opposing points of view confidently and logically
5. PM aligns her tasks to the goals of her manager, and does everything in her control to get closer to the goals

Why is it essential:

Trust is vital as it allows managers to get the necessary time and bandwidth to focus on long term planning. A solid long term plan is critical for the success of the product, the team, and your career.

Trust also allows you to get the required autonomy to innovate, ideate, and execute in your style.

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