Managing Up Starts with Managing You

HRDQ-U Blog | Managing Up
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Written by: Sally Foley-Lewis

Being seen and known as reputable, credible and knowledgeable takes action to amplify visibility, voice and value.

In 2012 my business seemed to be like a rollercoaster, and when I spent some time working out why, I realized I needed to be more visible. I set a goal to attend at least one networking function per week for approximately six months. I was living in Sydney at the time, and I needed to let the market know I was there. I attended a lot of events! A lot! Networking and strengthening my network helped increase my business.


>> Learn more at the webinar: Manage UP: Amplify your Visibility, Voice and Value.


In 2017/18 I posted and shared one short informational and inspirational video per week. This was, once again, to be more visible and to demonstrate I had a voice, and my intention was to give value.

In 2018, LinkedIn reached out to me and said I have been named in the Top 25 voices for LinkedIn for Australia in 2018. I admit I had to check if the email was spam or a scam, but it turned out to be legitimate.

These are just two examples of how amplifying your three core essences of you will lead to being seen as reputable, credible and knowledgeable. It can be surprising what can impact how others perceive you and your impact: take Joseph as an example:

Project Manager, Joseph, hates being on camera when the project team meets. Joseph also wants to be promoted: he’s been overlooked twice now. Joseph and I, while undertaking a DISC debrief also looked at his visibility, voice and value. While the link to being on camera and being promoted might seem like a stretch, when Joseph determined to get specific feedback on why he’s missing promotions, each leader he spoke with made reference to his (in)visibility. One comment Joseph received:

“Joseph, I never see you. If I’m to consider you for promotion then I need to see you and your performance. I need you to be the first person I think of. I know you’re a solid employee but how do I know where you excel when you stay hidden?”

Knowing what to work on can be challenging, overwhelming which could cause paralysis from analysis.

One way to explore what to focus on would be to reflect on:

  • What fears come up more often than anything else?
  • What seems to trigger any sense of being out of control?
  • Where and when does it feel as though there’s not enough?



When it comes to understanding this deeper, consider if you relate to any of these or you’ve received feedback similar to these:

Invisible Absent, Hidden, Withdrawn, Diffident: avoid meetings, networking, camera off, mute on, reserved. When called upon there’s hesitation.

Ignorant Can tend to push opinion or unwilling to hear alternative views. Might tend toward over-talking, draw out the point; conversely, rarely offer input or wait to be called upon to contribute. Have a fixed mindset, believing the current status quo is as far as you can go.

Insufficient Playing small due to feeling inadequate or ill-equipped. Imposter syndrome plays a significant part in keeping you passive.


With ongoing development, such as emotional intelligence, motivation and understanding motivators, and self-efficacy, managing up above the line will look, feel and sound invincible, intelligent and influential. Do you relate to any of these?

Invincible Able to handle a range of situations: resilient and confident. Be seen as and comfortable connecting people and showing up consistently.

Intelligent Confidently contribute expertise, and able to handle tough questions, comfortable with saying you don’t know. Can remain poised during challenging times, which includes asking questions, being curious, and willing and excited to learn.

Influential People see you as an expert leader; they seek you out and rely on you as an adviser. You operate with purpose and clarity.

What would help you manage up?

Managing up is a journey, it’s like a marathon, not it’s definitely not a sprint. In high school I ran cross-country; I loved this race as I could settle into a pace, a cadence, that my body could manage and sustain. Actions and excelling in managing up is about life long development, finding your personal development cadence.

Like running, you need to have a process, you don’t simply get off the couch one day and run a full 26.2-mile marathon. You need to train and that means having specific areas to focus on. Being in your best position to manage up successfully means focusing on specific areas so that you are confident and influential when handling those more senior to you.

You might consider the following areas to help you manage up effectively:


What would help you be more visible?

  • Networking
  • Having a mentor
  • Being more present amongst your team, within the organization



What would help you be heard and more confident to speak up?:

  • Undertake self-awareness training
  • Read more: leaders are readers!
  • Adopt a beginner’s mind: despite knowing adopt a curious mind so as to see situations from different perspectives; ask questions.



What would help you to demonstrate your value more?:

  • Develop strong problem solving and decision-making skills
  • Build your confidence
  • Undertake interpersonal communication skills training


This list is by no means exhaustive but gives you a place to start and consider.

What would you do first?

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