“Smart Strategy” or Brown-Nosing



This is the first article in a two-part Working with Your Manager series. 

You have the power to initiate meaningful change in your career, and it starts with taking action to manage up.

Some will say managing up is “brown-nosing.”  Dare to take a different view. Implement a Smart Strategy that begins with the following:

Recognize What is Important to the Manager.

The manager’s focus is on the big picture of executing the unit, department, division, line of business, or enterprise strategy.

  • Increase your big picture awareness to understand the overall strategy.
  • Exercise your strengths, knowledge, abilities, and work styles to support the strategic focus.
  • Learn the manager’s approach for in-taking and processing information.
  • Be aware of the manager’s decision-making and risk tolerance thresholds.
  • Adopt the manager’s preferred contact styles, such as face-to-face, phone, email, or instant messaging, for your communications.
  • Demonstrate interest and actively help the manager achieve business goals.

Managing up is a “Smart Strategy” to realize mutually beneficial results for you and your manager.

Offer Support and Lend a Hand.

Take the lead on a new initiative or handle a difficult problem. Offer support to your manager and colleagues as the need arises. Be a proactive team player. Volunteer – don’t wait for an invitation.

With a Smart Strategy, barriers that prevent transparent conversations, relationship building, professional development, and career advancement are no longer present.

Don’t be so busy doing the work until you miss a career-changing opportunity.

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport

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Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and leadership strategist. Her signature program, M3 LeadershipSM, prepares you to enhance and develop your self-awareness, embrace your inner strength, and lead with confidence, courage, and impact.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.