Top 10 Tips for Managing Down

Management looks really easy, doesn't it? You're awarded a title, and, if you are lucky, an office, and away you go. You bark some orders here and there and then you sit back until it's time to give another directive. Of course, everyone does exactly what you ask of them, because you are the person in charge. If this were really the case, everyone would want to be a manager!

Here are ten tips to help you become the type of manager that everyone wants to work with.

1. Be credible - It is difficult, if not impossible to get others to follow you if you aren't perceived as being credible. Credibility is not something you earn overnight, although it is certainly something you can destroy in one day. Be mindful of how your words and actions have a direct impact on how others perceive you on a daily basis.

2. Lead by example - Behave, as you would want your employees to behave, but also understand that your role is different from that of your employees.

3. Surround yourself with the right people - Hire for fit, train for skill and if the opportunity presents itself, hire people who are better than you. Prepare for the arrival of new hires so they immediately feel connected to the organization.

4. Build on strengths - Weaknesses may be more visible, but strengths are where you will receive a greater return. Find one or two strengths in each of your people and help them become the type of employees you know they can be.

5. Cut your losses early - Mismatches happen, no matter how good you are at interviewing. Take action quickly to avoid having the rest of the team distracted by a poor hire.

6. Cultivate the success of others - To succeed as a manager, you will need to shift your focus from "me" to "we." Going forward, your success will no longer be measured by your individual contribution. Instead, you will be evaluated on your ability to create and maintain a highly engaged team that is willing to give it their all.

7. Manage performance - People want and need feedback in order to improve their performance. Don't be the manager everyone complains about. Give your people continuous feedback and provide them with timely performance reviews.

8. Be respectful - One of the quickest ways to lose credibility and trust is by being disrespectful. Regardless of the situation at hand, treat your people the way you would like to be treated.

9. Master the art of influencing - As the boss, many times you will be asking people to do things on your behalf. Be specific in your request and let them know why it's in their best interest to comply, and you will be well on your way to getting what you need.

10. Get respect - As human beings, we have a natural tendency to want to be loved. But what happens when your desire to be loved interferes with your ability to lead? Effective leaders recognize it is more important to be respected by their people than adored. They make the tough decisions that are needed to secure the future of those around them, including their direct reports.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions ( and author of the highly acclaimed book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, January 2011). Her firm helps organizations create exceptional workplaces that deliver extraordinary results. Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta's monthly newsletter, HR Matters.

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