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favorite parts of “Managing Up”

I loved this book by Rosanne Badowski – so much gold (even though it's a bit outdated). A must-read for anyone in a supporting role who wants to get better. Here were some of my favorite parts:

  • Foreward:
    • 3 most important qualities in an assistant: loyal, discreet, forgiving
      • Loyalty: crazy, unrelenting zeal that puts the job first / lived + breathed work
      • Discretion: lock on information must be airtight to do with strategic decisions + sensitive personnel and personal matters
      • Forgiveness (from your heart) / resilience (from your head): ability to bounce back + keep momentum is so important
  • Intro
    • A great assistant (or any direct report) is not a secret weapon, but a foot soldier - ready to show up and fight everyday
    • Ultimate goal is to create time for your boss, thats what they need most (i.e. 2 hours of research / prep to result in a 30 second “gun + go” decision on Jack’s desk)
    • Scrub items free on non-essentials, preempt questions / action items
    • Not enough to know what is happening, have to know why its happening
    • If you’re not helping, you’re hindering
  • Ch 1: Chemistry
    • A match in commitment level
    • Mutual energy
    • took about a year to master the job
    • Learn the language of your boss and those around you
  • Ch 2: Trust
    • To gain trust, have to give trust
    • Work-Out meetings - town hall type meetings where any and all procedures or polities were up for discussion from anyone, handled by outside facilitator, and 75% of them needed action / to be decided on. Encouraged an eye towards always identifying what can be improved and encourage a culture of constant change. Was not a gripe session, if you disagreed, you had to be prepared to offer a solution
    • Full disclosure early and often, but not to interrupt workflow (depending on the error)
    • Don’t repeat mistakes, learn from them
    • Make the agenda of the person you work for your own agenda.
  • Ch 3: Confidence
    • Confidence isn’t static, it ebbs and flows based on 5 other elements: experience / discipline / realism / perfectionism / flexibility
      • based on the above 5 things, you can tell if confidence is being killed or created
      • a good manager will help develop self confidence in others
    • Manage up by making life easier for the person above you
    • Gain experience by offering to help someone outside of your area / role
    • “Better buried than bored”
    • Move on if your job has run out of ways for you to grow - that’s the sign it is time
    • “Take care of it” = magic words to build confidence. Shifts into you saying “I’ll take care of it”.
    • 98% of any job is follow-through - conversely, all problems are related to lack of follow through.
    • Pg: 39 = Morning routine helped tell how the day was going to shape up
  • Ch. 4: Impatience:
    • Preparedness / preemptive summaries
    • Listened in on all phone calls - immense amount of information on what was happening + emotional intelligence.
    • pg 50: “Business is about today and tomorrow” - usually only focused on current data and future plans.
    • Overwhelming support on minute things - the small things really add up. Keeping folders in the same order as was on his desk when packing for a trip, etc.
    • pg 53: Going through the wastebasket was still a method of information collecting - knowing what is not important to your peers is just as important as knowing what IS important.
    • pg. 54 = importance of highlight + TLDR
    • Don’t try to reinvent your manager - wasted effort. Everyone has downsides, but if you want to manage up effectively focus on the upsides.
    • Anticipate as much as possible.
  • Ch. 5 Energy:
    • Constant speed, exhilaration and pressure = if you love it
    • Only a few weekend were call or work free and she was grateful about it and didn’t want to suggest she worked for a slavedriver. She genuinely loved her work
    • pg 66: Work is the same as play = you need to form a team with the person above you and play. She got great energy from Jack himself
    • Individuals solve problems, not senior management.
    • You should know what your boss’s goals are and your goals should mesh with your managers in order to have a great fission of energy. If not- its a problem.
    • If you aren’t passionate and commitment to the work you are doing, it is not worth doing.

There are more chapters but like most projects, this one is half done