Managing up is the key to success

Managing up is the “key” to success!
Street locksmith, from ‘Street Life in London’, 1877, by John Thomson and Adolphe Smith. LSE library.

As a sales person, a vital part of your success is creating a brand for yourself. How you are perceived by those in your sphere of influence has a significant impact on your overall career and life success. You want a positive brand image with peers, internal and external clients, and most certainly your boss.

How often do you analyze your brand?  Many refer to what I am discussing here as managing sideways, up, or down. This is key to overall job satisfaction and success in the workplace.  In this article I want to focus on managing up, meaning managing the relationship with your boss.

Here are five things you should want your boss to know about you:

  1. That you bring a great attitude to your work environment every day. You come to work focused, prepared, and positive about your business and activities for that day and beyond. Your peers and co-workers like and respect you because of what you bring to the operation daily and how you handle your relationships both internally and externally.
  2. That you understand that the effort you give is commensurate with the opportunities you receive. Deliver great results for the clients you currently have on your list before looking for clients to add to that list.
  3. That you are open to coaching. This is one of a couple of real keys to your brand with your managers. Do you take constructive criticism as it is intended? Have you listened intently to the feedback you get from your boss and tried to engage and activate some of those suggestions in your daily life, or do you blow it off or not pay attention to training and feedback?  The reality is, if you are more productive, the sales team as whole may be more productive and your boss will be viewed as more productive, so what do you have to lose?
  4. That you are capable of developing new business. Many account executives can easily work established accounts, but in today’s world, being a rainmaker is an important component of one’s success. Do your current clients believe that working with you provides ROI?  Does that they generate referrals that allow you to pave new relationships, which results in new sales for both you and your company? Hunting and farming are keys to sales success.
  5. The final, and possibly the most important key to managing up, is that you embrace transparency. Are you open to your boss inspecting his or her expectations of you? Are you prepared and ready to be transparent in your one-on-one meetings with your manager? Do you communicate openly with your boss? Are you clear on what the goals are and what success looks like? Are you comfortable with your sales efforts being inspected and measured?

The relationship between a supervisor and a direct report is greatly enhanced when you understand what your supervisor wants and needs you to do, and when you can get on the same page and accept those expectations on a consistent basis.

Being an active participant in your brand with your supervisor is essential to having a mutually beneficial relationship moving into the future.

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