My friend Ted Rubin has a quote that I love – “Relationships are like muscle tissue, the more you engage them, the stronger and more valuable they become”.  

Having a healthy, positive relationship with your boss, investors or board makes your work life much easier, it’s also good for your job satisfaction and your career.  It can also make your work day more fun!

Working on your daily tasks is a tactic and managing-up is a strategy, the two must work in tandem.  A useful definition is “managing up is a method of career development that’s based on consciously working for the mutual benefit of yourself and your boss”.

Here are my tips/lessons learned that you can take action with immediately;


Get to know your boss/investors. To be able to communicate in a way that works for them, and to better understand what they want from you, take them for a coffee/beer/wine and find out what they are trying to accomplish and what do they most (personally and professionally) care about. What role do they envision you playing in their plans?

Establish ground rules. Agree how will you communicate, what are your priorities, what outcome defines success and how will you monitor, measure and document your performance – AND – then take action, monitor, measure and document your performance.  Share it on a regular basis.

Get specifics. outline the exact steps you plan to take to complete a project or a task you are assigned, get a quick OK before you start.  You must ensure that you have specifics.  Nothing is worse than finding out something you have put your heart and soul into for months is not going to be used or not relevant.

Create standard procedures. If you have recurring tasks, improve the process where possible and document them, so they are easy to hand over to another person as you move up the ladder.

Learn about the company you work for or the investment group that funded you.  What is its vision, mission, goals.  How do your goals fit into these.

Oh and DO NOT get involved in office politics!!!