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'Managing Up’ Takes Social Media by Storm; What's All the Buzz About? And Essential Dos and Don'ts

The hashtag #managingup alone has racked up 9 million views on TikTok.
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Iryna Tysiak
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Iryna Tysiak

A new work trend is going viral on TikTok. It is called “managing up”. Several creators and career gurus are encouraging Gen Z workers to take back control of their work lives by using the age-old hack. The hashtag #managingup alone has racked up 9 million views on TikTok.

Here’s all you need to know about ‘managing up’, the hack that is touted as the key to making a job suit a worker’s needs.

Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Annie Spratt
Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Annie Spratt

The Harvard Business Review defines managing up as “being the most effective employee you can be, creating value for your boss and your company.”

Thus, managing up is a method of career development based on working for the mutual benefit of an employee and an employer, as per It involves workers understanding the expectations of their employer and developing positive, communicative relations. In other words, it is a part of management that details how workers should effectively deal with their managers and subordinates.

Managing can be a powerful skill that can elevate one’s career and foster a more communicative and harmonious work environment.

Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Austin Distel
Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Austin Distel

Several creators have posted content around the trend. One creator, Amy (@hackyourhr) posted a video explaining a ‘managing up’ scenario. In the video, the creator elaborates on the smart way to push back when an employee is asked to stay late or overwork.

She says it's best to discuss the matter with the manager and bring examples of all the work that has been done. She advised workers to ask what they should be doing differently and recommended being "reasonable," and "emotionally neutral".

@hackyourhr manager tip: how to manage UP to your boss when they want you staying at work longer than 8 hours…but you’re super efficient and don’t “need to” #hackyourhr ♬ original sound - Amy | Hack Your HR

In another video, Marie Carmen Pizzaro (@maricarmeninternational) shared the advice given to her by her mentor about managing her boss. In the video, the creator says, "Managing your boss is about creating a strong relationship in which I could express my ideas, my needs, my team's needs, including my desires for my future in the organization."

Meanwhile, there are people who are against the notion of managing up as well. One creator, Kashia (@kash.ia) expressed that they see managing up as extra work that employees need to do to compensate for the poor management.

@kash.ia i say this as someone who has been a people manager on multiple occassions - if someone has to “manage up” when they report to me, i’m not doing great and need to recalibrate because my actions arent allowing them to reach their greatness. #managingup #badbosses #toxicboss #corporatesaddies #corporatelife #9to5problems #workculture #managersbelike #blackincorporateamerica #accountabilitycheck #gototherapy ♬ original sound - kashia | changing work culture

Don’t go over your manager’s head. Despite what the theory sounds like, managing up is not going above a manager's head to have ideas or concerns heard.

Don’t try to manage your manager and advise them on how to do their work.

Don’t try to manipulate your manager or try to mold them into someone different.

Don’t get involved in office politics and avoid favoritism.

Try your best to understand what your manager wants you to achieve.

Develop a positive and productive relationship with your manager and superiors by communicating better.

Learn and adapt to your manager's communication style and way of working to better understand their expectations and exceed them.

Always communicate your own preferred work and communication style with your superiors.

Anticipate your manager's needs and gain awareness of what their goals are.

Always offer help during a work “emergency,” and observe the normal rhythms of your organization to know when to pitch in.