How Would You “Manage Up” with this Boss?

Navigating Office Politics

Lucy had worked for a major high tech company for over 15 years, working her way up from Customer Service Representative to Sales Support, then Sales Representative, and now Sales Analyst. After 5 years in the same department, she longed to move on. Every time she applied for a new role internally, the process stalled once the new manager checked references with her current boss. Was “managing up” a blind spot for Lucy?

manage up exercise imageSomehow, Lucy had gotten “sideways” with her boss, Amanda. Lucy was frustrated because Amanda didn’t explain the purpose of many ad hoc reports requested by the finance department. Amanda was scattered, overbooked, and gave the team very little direction. Lucy felt that a little clarity would help her do a better job of responding to requests from the finance department, and would help her provide the department with better quality data analytics for decision-making.

Sometimes Lucy’s frustration leaked through in meetings and in her emails, to the degree that her last review stated, “Lucy isn’t a team player.” Lucy wanted to stay with the company because she believed in their product and loved the benefits. She had heard good things about managers in other departments where her skill set could be very valuable.

Tell us how you would advise Lucy to manage this situation

What should Lucy do next?

  1. Go to Human Resources and complain that she is being held back by an unreasonable and ineffective manager
  2. Forget about staying with this company; go and find a job someplace else right away
  3. Start by addressing her own attitude first; become a team player and make her boss look good so she can get a great review and move on
  4. Share her issues openly with the managers of the departments she wants to work for, so she can bypass the issue of the poor review

How would you handle this scenario, now that things have progressed to this point?

Click here to tell us how you would advise Lucy to manage this situation. Use Subject Line: Lucy’s “Managing Up” Issue

Do you have an office politics puzzle? Tell us your puzzle via email (in 300 words or less) and we’ll try to help. For confidentiality purposes, we won’t use real company names or the names of actual people.

kwinsor@thewinsorgroup.com Subject Line: Office Politics Puzzle