Managing up. Do you know why to or how?

When I first started my career, the thought of moving up to a higher level wasn’t something I was thinking about. This was due to the fact I was more concerned about mastering the work related to the role I was in. As the years progressed, I became more aware of the career advancement of others. However, at that time, it was a mystery to me about how they moved ahead in their career.

The fact I didn’t have someone mentoring me during the first decade of my career is what I would attribute to being one of the greatest missed opportunities. Although, at that time, I wasn’t aware that having a mentor was an option. If I had realized this, the approach I took towards managing my career would have been significantly different. For one thing, I would have stayed on track to pursue a career which involved having more creativity infused into my daily role.

The expression that we have a 20/20 perception from our rear-view mirror may not be entirely accurate. My reason for suggesting this, is that we often forget or edit out some of the details that contributed to the outcome of the experience. Both good and bad ones.

When it comes to managing your career from a fully intentional approach to doing so, one of the first factors I noted above is that you should seek out counsel from someone to help you to do so. Your arrangement does not have to be overly official, but it should be with an individual who has successfully navigated the type of forward progress you are seeking.

There are numerous ways to get ahead in your career, and no one perfect way of doing so. That’s the good news. The downside is that you should consider whether moving ahead and up to the loftier roles in your career are really where you aspire to be?

Many of the leaders I have worked with have often noted that some of their best years of their career were when they were either individual contributors on a team. The teams they preferred working on were ones that were fully integrated, interdependent and focused on a single goal of achievement.

Now let’s get back to addressing whether you are interested in managing your career to higher levels, and how to go about doing so. The first step we covered already, but is worth repeating. Do you truly aspire to climb up to the highest levels of management? The second matter, also worth repeating, is to address ensuring you have a mentor or someone to guide you in the process of moving up in your role.

The third critical factor to consider is whether you have set yourself up in a role that will allow you to progress. Some roles have clearly delineated paths to the top, and yet the top level for the role may not take you to where you want to end up.

Here are some suggestions for how to go about managing your way up the career ladder.

  • Consider whether a lateral move may in fact provide you with additional experience you will need to progress to the next level.
  • Is your boss aware of your interest in moving up?
  • Do you have the type of boss who will support helping you to move up in your career? Not all bosses are “pro” you.
  • In addition to your mentor, seek out others either inside your company, or within your industry who have successfully navigated their way up to a role you desire.
  • Once you find someone besides your mentor to help you with your upward career movement, ask them to help you map out both the timeline and steps to take to accomplish this. In other words, have a written plan in place.
  • Applying a well through strategy to your upward mobility career plan will also be crucial to your success formula.
  • Often timing plays a large role in when opportunities avail themselves, and sometimes your experience may not match where you need to be to make a move.
  • There is an “art” to moving up in an organization. One of the most critical portions of the artistry of doing this is to hone your influencing skills. Consider how much experience you have with influencing others, and think about the outcomes of your influence.
  • Besides having your boss support you, have you put together your other “support champions”? These people will play a role in helping to drop both verbal and written endorsements for you as you are plotting your forward progression.
  • Your “support champions” should be a blend of people at different levels, as having a balanced group of people supporting you will serve you better than only being supported from top level executives. However, some people choose strictly to only manage-up to others in higher roles.
  • Managing across is also a technique to manage-up, as you will need and want to be supported by the colleagues who will eventually be reporting to you. Don’t underestimate the value of this.

Patience is a hard trait to master, and it will take a combination of patience, timing, support and a solid plan which needs to be executed well to get you to the level you ultimately desire to be at. Good luck with the process, and let me know if you need my help along the way.

Tags: #Business #Career #Success #Productivity #Management #Mentor #CareerAdvancement #ManagingUp

Why Everyone Needs a Coach or Mentor.


By Kathleen E. Murphy

In honor of Mother’s Day, I chose to write an article about a person the majority of people would consider to be their first coach, their Mom. Yes, perhaps it was your Dad or someone who played the role of “Mom” in the formative years of your life. Whomever your first coach or mentor was, today would be a perfect day to thank them for what they did for you as you were developing as a young person.

The ironic thing about having a coach or mentor, is we typically have one early in our lives, but often do not continue to have a person in our lives who plays this role as we progress into the future. Why don’t we, or are you one of the fortunate people who do? For me personally, I always wanted to have an “official” business coach or mentor, but did not have one. So, I took it upon myself to become one. I first did this informally, and then more formally by joining various organizations (e.g., a shout out to the Babson College MBA program for accepting me as a mentor for 3 of their women MBA’s, as well as to the Women Unlimited Program who formally mentors executive business women, and whom I am a mentor for). Both of these mentoring programs are amazing programs who support the values associated with coaching and mentorship, specifically in the business world. However, the concepts of coaching and mentoring can also be applied outside of the business world.

Having mentored well over 100 people in my career; and many of them who would still consider themselves to be a mentee of mine twenty years later, I am a staunch supporter of the benefits associated with having a mentor or coach. I have personally seen how coaching and mentoring has directly and positively impacted both their business as well as their personal lives. Some of the benefits a coach or mentor can provide you are: they challenge you, they listen well, they can guide you to where you want to go, have the experience required to help you, they offer emotional support when its required, provide feedback which is constructive and make themselves available to you when you need them the most.

Recently I attended a Gallup seminar which cited a new report they released which has documented what Millennials want in the workplace. The number one thing they noted they expect or desire to have in the workplace is a coach or mentor. Based on fact in a few short years we will have more millennials in the workforce than we have any other generation category, I was intrigued by this top request, as it is a very reasonable one. However, the challenge organizations will face is the fact there will not be enough people who are either trained, or desire to be a mentor or coach. How will the shortage of coach/mentor’s be addressed? My insight into this challenge will be for millennials to initially seek outside through their respective organizations to help them find the resources to support this need (e.g., colleges, religious associations, community groups). I am not associated with this organization, but I found a “free” mentoring organization on-line called Find A Mentor.

You can also join this organization if you want to be a mentor. Their concept is based on paying it forward and helping others. We all know it is highly rewarding to help others, and if you need a coach or mentor, this seems to be a good place to start if you do not have other resources to tap into.

Thank you to all the Mother’s out there, and to those people who have moved on to play the instrumental role of being a coach or mentor in people’s lives. Continue doing what you do, as you are all making a tremendous difference in other people’s lives.

This blog is dedicated to both Terry Kuprevich who passed away last night, and is the Mom of my dear friend Misty Grennell, and also my Mom, Emily R. Murphy. Thank you for being my first mentor and coach. You were and still are an amazing one to this day. Happy Mother’s Day.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at