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6 Examples of Managing Up

 , July 19, 2018 updated on March 06, 2023
Managing up is the process of influencing and building relationships with stakeholders who have more formal authority than you. This is a fundamental requirement for managers who are expected to represent and champion their team, business unit or function. Managing up is also commonly practiced amongst non-management employees to achieve goals such as promotions, work-life balance and influence over the direction of their work. The following are common examples of managing up.

Managing Expectations

Managing expectations is the process of negotiating and communicating your workload, assumptions, constraints and decisions. It is common for managers and executives to imagine that you are working on things that you haven't committed to deliver. Likewise, managers may expect things of your work that are detached from working level realities. A third problem is that managers may arbitrarily assign work that is unrealistic, low value or beyond your capacity. Managing expectations is the process of negotiating for reasonable and high value work items and clearing communicating what is being delivered.

Setting Expectations

Setting expectations is the process of communicating your direction, resource needs and requirements. This most often applies to managing down whereby you set expectations such as deadlines, work quality and requirements with your team. However, it also applies to managing up as you may want to clearly indicate strategies, mission and goals in order to gain resources and cooperation with stakeholders across an organization.


Leadership is a social process that involves getting people moving in the same direction towards a common purpose. This applies equally well to managing up and managing down as leadership has little or nothing to do with formal authority. For example, if you become an agent of change that drives forward the strategies of management you will become important to them.


Managing up is a process of communication whether you are selling a strategy, celebrating a win or influencing an outcome. This includes everything from visual communication to the art of winning an argument.

Relationship Building

Individuals who have influence with people higher then themselves in a hierarchy are often relationship builders who are in the habit of talking to people at every level of their organization. For example, you are far more likely to influence up if you are generally well known and visible in your firm.


The practice of being truly dedicated to your job such that you continually improve things and are highly engaged. Some professionals earn respect for their diligence, output, knowledge and/or commitment such that they end up having significant influence over managers and/or executive managers.
Overview: Managing Up
The process of influencing and building relationships with stakeholders with greater formal authority than yourself.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about influencing.
Ambiguity Effect
Active Silence
Anecdotal Evidence
Agree To Disagree
Building Trust
Call To Action
Anticipating Objections
Creative Tension
Charismatic Authority
Cruel Wit
Charm Offensive
Cultural Capital
Choice Architecture
Devils Advocate
Dry Humor
Consensus Building
Expectation Setting
Constructive Criticism
Eye Contact
Heliotropic Effect
Loaded Language
Loaded Question
Door In The Face
Peak-End Rule
Plain Language
Ethos Pathos & Logos
Rhetorical Device
Social Influence
Social Perception
False Dilemma
Social Proof
Foot In The Door
Informal Authority
Weasel Words
Information Cascade
Inside Jokes
Intrinsic Reward
Logical Argument
Managing Up
Name Dropping
Paradox Of Choice
Political Capital
Red Herring
Rhetorical Question
Rule Of Three
Self Monitoring
Small Talk
Social Tension
Straw Man
Touching Base
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