Managing the People who manage us

Managing Up by Mary Abbajay

Book Review: Managing Up by Mary Abbajay

Everybody has a boss so essentially; everybody has to manage up. As Mary shares in the introduction of her book “Managing up”, there are literally tens of thousands of books written on how to be an effective leader and manager. But clearly all these books haven’t made too much of an impression on many managers since the number one reason people quit their jobs globally is still because of their boss. Since it is not easy to either change your boss or fire them, it may therefore be important that each of us learns to manage those who manage us. This could greatly reduce on the number of people leaving/losing their jobs because of their bosses.

Mary has over 20 years’ experience consulting and working with organizations in this space that we can glean from. In this book, she offers great guidance on how to ‘manage up’ different types of managers ranging from introverts to extroverts, energizers, advancers, harmonizers, evaluators and difficult bosses.

The book is made of 22 chapters and from chapter 2–20 she specifically describes each boss type, how to identify their style and how to manage them up. For some difficult boss types such as the Truly Terrible — Psycho Crazy Bully Tyrannical Screaming Egomaniacs, she also shares what not to do for such types of bosses as your strategies may end up back firing on you.

She then concludes the book with 50 tips on how to manage up any type of boss. Here is a summary of the tips: Build a relationship/foster a partnership with your manager, be professional at all times, bring solutions not problems, no surprises, be humble, cut some slack, be honest, respect your boss’s time, accept and adapt, build and compensate, align your priorities, make a new plan — Stan, take the feedback well, stay on the radar, learn their perspective, Make your boss’s life easy, don’t whine, be a “can-do” employee, show appreciation, pay them a compliment from time to time, share the whole truth, acknowledge the good bits, don’t lie, cheat or steal — even if your boss does, request — don’t complain, make your requests effective, do the job you were hired to do, under promise and over deliver, know what really matters to your boss and give it to her, be aware of their hot buttons and pet peeves, request feedback, don’t backstab, anticipate their needs, be enthusiastic about your duties, turn to the team, make your boss look good, keep your boss informed, use “we” not “I”, use “I” not “you”, don’t “yes, but” your boss, don’t be a jerk, honor your commitments, challenge appropriately, be flexible, discuss delegation, consider the culture, speak up, develop external awareness, manage yourself first, defend — don’t bad mouth and finally have conversation with your boss.

What a great read!!! I have found almost all of Mary’s recommendations on how to ‘manage up’ the different boss types very practical and applicable to all work settings. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who works in a job and has a boss. You need to learn manage up. It is a MUST have skill for all employees and Managing Up by Mary Abbajay will teach you a lot on this very important and critical topic.



Allan is a blogger, avid reader, statistician, businessman, and aspiring investor

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Allan Kakinda

Allan is a blogger, avid reader, statistician, businessman, and aspiring investor