The Importance of Managing Up

By Justine EdenJustine Eden, Director

Having been in the recruitment industry for a few years now (not specifying how many because it makes me feel old!) I have been able to sit back and watch many people progress up the leadership ladder. Some more successfully than others. There can be many factors impacting on success of course, but in many instances I have seen the inability to recognize the need to manage up, lead to failure.

Managing up can sometimes bring connotations of having to “kiss arse” – excuse the language, and I would argue that if this is what you interpret as managing up you are missing a key opportunity. Many leaders can be overly consumed with managing down and depending on the profile of your team sometimes this is necessary – but you need to ensure this isn’t a long-term strategy.

You need to focus attention on managing yourself – your career, your education, your professional portfolio to ensure you remain relevant and challenged. You of course will have an element of managing down through delegation and KPI’s to ensure deliverables are met.

But – how to manage up? Be clear on who above you this could include and then determine how often and how you will need to feedback to each person. In person communication is an effective way to build rapport and trust followed by putting things in writing to protect each other.

A good executive should adopt a no surprises approach in order to have the back of the people they report to and should also be able to determine what is communicated and what is not to prevent information overload. No Board wants hundreds of pages to read through, so your ability to grasp and communicate the key issues and expand if needed, is critical.

By managing up you increase your visibility and intel because you should be privy to strategic issues and be on the front foot to ask for the opportunity to work on key projects. You will better anticipate future challenges and therefore be able to better position your team to respond. Knowledge and networks are the power base of any ambitious executive but like anything require constant work and attention!

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Why don’t you call me no more?

By Justine Eden, Director – Eden Ritchie RecruitmentJustine Eden

As coined in the lyrics of one of the great Prince songs, the Master of Music (RIP Legend) laments the fact that the one person he wants to hear from can’t even pick up the phone.

Likewise, I am amazed by the number of executives who, when applying for roles, simply hit submit. Why don’t they want to talk?

Wouldn’t they want to get behind the position description (that is so often outdated – a story for another blog) and better understand the key aspects of this role and organisation? Wouldn’t this intel better inform their application and allow them to nail what it is that the hiring manager is looking for?

I agree that often the person listed on the ad is not always the most informed or helpful – but persevere. Make sure you have a few relevant questions to ask when you do connect with someone able to share key information with you. Use this as a key opportunity to connect and build rapport.

I get to work across a great number of organisations and with leaders from every technical specialisation. I can attest to the many number of times when people recall a phone conversation with an interested applicant and want to meet them in person.

It’s all you need – that foot in the door. The interview – isn’t that what the application is all about? Blindly applying for your next career role and winging an interview is not an effective tactic. I don’t understand how an applicant can sit in an interview and stress how enthusiastic they are about the opportunity when they haven’t done their research up front.

Also, the stock standard application is not effective. If you are serious about your career and your search, you have to invest the time into it. Tailor your letter to the specifics of this role and organisation. Pick out the key words in the ad and the position description and aim to include them (ensure relevance) in your resume.

And please check your work! Incorrect names, spelling errors, leaving the details on a letter relating to a different role/organisation – yes, sadly I see this a lot. I look forward to hearing from you.

You can contact Eden Ritchie Recruitment via our website and follow our team on LinkedIn and Twitter, or call on +61 7 3230 0033.

The Art of Constructive Feedback

Linda ParkerEver had those days when you just really want to tell a staff member the brutal truth about their performance? If you are answering yes you are only human! Let’s face it, we’re not really supposed to tell people we work with that they are worthless and dim-witted!

We all give and receive feedback differently – some get defensive, offended and downright obstinate.  Others seem to listen, agree and take it in, and then promptly carry on doing things exactly the same way. Then there are those who are mortified, hanging their head in shame, and disappearing to a quiet corner to lick their wounds for a while.

Most of the time you aim for somewhere in the middle – for them to take note, demonstrate some accountability for their work and/or behaviour – good or bad, identify their own weaknesses and above all strive to improve.

I recently read an online article that provided some useful tips, and one point in particular resonated with me as a solid and effective approach, and one that I see used a lot in practice.

‘Try giving them a feedback sandwich’…

Basically this means breaking down the feedback process into layers.  Start with praising and complimenting their strong points, thus providing the ‘bread’. Then start to fill it with some areas that need work and improvement – careful not to overfill it and make it difficult to swallow! Then top it off nicely with some encouragement and positivity for better future outcomes.

Leading by example is more often than not the most successful way of driving performance in the right direction.  It doesn’t matter what position we hold, we are always looking for someone to inspire us.

I have two very strong, successful and dynamic leaders who have inspired me for the past 9 years, and who have also allowed me to see their more vulnerable side, which I think keeps it very real and honest, and builds a greater level of trust and respect …

What type of leader has inspired you?