Developing Your Talent

How To Create Followers Up, Down and Across Your Organization

By JC Heinen on June 26, 2012

“As a newly minted boss, don’t forget that you are also still an employee. Managing in all directions is a critical skill to cultivate, say many seasoned executives,” states Meghan Cassidy in her Forbes article “Congratulations! You’re a Manager … Now What?

“Managing up” helps solidify your reputation within the company.  In meetings with your boss, examine his or her style and identify the goals your boss wants to achieve.  Then, adapt your own communication style to gain better alignment.  For example, if your manager is a “big picture” thinker, avoid too many details.  Instead, have a bulleted list for quick perusal. Always consider, “What impression am I making?  Am I making my boss’ job easier?”

“Managing laterally or interdepartmentally is the most high-risk relationship,” according to Cassidy. “Building alliances up, down, across and even outside of your organization is well worth the added effort.”

Rather than engage in interdepartmental competition, focus instead on cooperation and collaboration by breaking down silos. This helps to build affiliation and allows for greater efficiency and productivity. Again, consider your reputation. Are you creating a network of allies across your organization?  Are you offering value that enhances your reputation as a team player?

“Managing down” should really be considered “coaching down.”  True leaders set high expectations, provide the requisite training and tools, and know how to motivate team members to achieve individual and group goals.  They also act as mentors by not just addressing employee performance issues, but also by helping team members learn and grow.

Ask yourself, “Are you gaining followers within the organization?”

Leave a Reply