3 problems with managing up

EngineeringManagerAnyTech Lead
Date Added
Apr 8, 2021 11:35 AM

It’s no secret that employees and managers need to build great relationships and work well together to create a productive, engaging, and encouraging environment. This is also ideal for employee retention: research shows that relationships between employees and managers have a significant impact. That’s why we so often hear that employees don’t quit their job; they quit their boss. Cultivating a positive relationship is critical to employee satisfaction and retention.

It’s no surprise then, that the idea of “managing up”—when an employee develops strong relationships with higher-ups, anticipates their needs, and prioritizes meeting their expectations—can be great for employee engagement and retention. It might sound like the ideal situation. If a thriving, positive relationship is good for the employee and the manager, it has to be beneficial for the entire organization, right?

Yes, but not if it goes too far. When left unchecked, managing up can actually hurt employee morale, reduce team engagement, create discord, and ultimately, hurt the bottom line. Here’s how.