‘Managing up’ TikTok trend goes viral Millicent Machell 14 August 2023
Following the online popularity of workplace hacks, such as quiet quitting and #actyourwage, hashtag #managingup has amassed 5.6 million views on TikTok.
The trend advises employees on how to interact with their manager to set realistic expectations and achieve better career results.
Videos under the hashtag include advice from TikToker Rema on how to respond to questions from your manager when “their urgency is not your emergency”.
In the clip, she advises employees to “take your power back” by requesting additional time to make important decisions and or answering awkward questions about other colleagues by telling the manager to ask the colleague concerned directly.
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Other advice centres on how to manage up during one-to-one meetings, with TikTok user Alex suggesting updating your manager on their progress on each task they have been assigned, and then asking them about questions and expectations going forward.
Adam Butler, CEO of workplace wellbeing company Officeology, said the trend can be used to foster a better relationship between managers and employees.
Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Managing up is essentially understanding your manager’s working style and adjusting your own approach to make both your day-to-day jobs easier.
“I can see why people are behind this, as doing so encourages open dialogue, which can result in expectations being met and can help build a more positive relationship with your manager.”
Career coach Stephen Adams said managing up can also allow two-way feedback and more effective communication.
Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “It allows you to build trust with your line manager and give them feedback in a positive manner. The clever part of this is understanding your line manager’s personality style to enable you to tailor your communication style to theirs.
“When I started doing this, it took the pressure off of my second guessing and I built a better work relationship with my line managers. True trust was built.”
However, Adams said the trend also can be seen as disingenuous.
He added: “If there is a hidden agenda from the employee to try and manipulate the manager, this is a bad approach.
“Line managers can see through this easily or use it to their advantage. This creates a toxic unhealthy environment and both parties are always looking over their shoulders.
“The effect it has on the rest of the team is extremely noticeable and you see colleagues withdraw from meetings and conversations.”
To effectively manage up, Butler said employees should focus on aligning expectations to avoid miscommunication.
He said: “Before you start any task, share how you plan to approach it with your manager beforehand, ask for their opinion, and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions.
“This allows for an open dialogue where your manager can provide suggestions, giving you a better understanding of what your manager is looking for.”
He also recommended recognising patterns in the manager’s requests to remain a step ahead.
Butler added: “Think about what questions they typically ask you or next steps that they would recommend, as there is usually a pattern. Show that you’ve already thought through how you would tackle any challenges, by outlining your thought process and that you are ready to take on the next steps before they even say it – they will appreciate you for it.”