Five Tips for Managing Your Managers

Managing Your Managers Doesn’t Have to Be Unmanageable.


If you spend your workday managing managers, you have a unique set of responsibilities. First, you must make sure each manager is performing to their best ability and meeting their job requirements. But you also must make sure that each manager is holding their team members accountable.

You may find yourself facing different challenges as the list of people you’re directly and indirectly responsible for grows.


Our five tips for managing your managers should help you make sense of it all.


1| Give them some space

Think of yourself as an advisor instead of a dictator. If you spend your days shouting orders and demanding updates, your managers will lose respect for you and productivity is likely to suffer. Instead, make it your mission to listen, provide guidance, and be a supportive role model.

At the same time, don’t become a ghost. While providing managers with enough space to learn through experience and develop their own processes will create empowered managers, letting someone slack off for too long can be difficult to remedy without serious repercussions.


2| Give credit when it’s due

A good manager understands that there will be times when they’re needed to go above and beyond. But unlike their team members who are likely paid overtime wages for coming in early or staying late, a manager does so on their own accord. If you’re lucky enough to have a manager who willingly goes the extra mile, acknowledge their efforts using a creative recognition method.

Recognition only goes so far though. Managers who feel they’re routinely being taken advantage of will come to a breaking point.


3| Skip the micromanaging

Even though you’re managing managers, you don’t have to manage every step that every manager takes. For example, let each manager run shift meetings or organize their work zones using processes that work best for them and their teams. Forcing everyone to convert to what you think is best is often a recipe for disaster.

But to prevent chaos, consider periodic one on one meetings with each manager to learn more about their processes, provide constructive feedback, and ensure nothing is slipping through the cracks.


4| Make the most of time together

Unless business is at a standstill, you likely don’t have much time to bring all your managers together. Even if you do have a schedule that allows routine meetings, they’re likely limited in length. So, make the most of the time you do have to connect with your managers by:


  • Being prepared: Never hold a meeting without an agenda. If possible, send it out beforehand to your managers so they can prep accordingly (print reports, conduct inventory, etc.).
  • Opening the floor: Managing your managers is more about listening than talking. Make sure you leave plenty of opportunity for questions and discussions led by your managers during meetings.
  • Keeping the door open: There’s no reason to check out just because a meeting comes to an end. Let your managers know that you’re always available by becoming a more mindful manager.


5| Be a role model

Studies show that direct reports learn to lead by example. Make sure your managing style is one you’re proud of. Before taking on an upper management role, take some time to evaluate your own behavior and leadership style. Adjust your approach as needed, and remember that as a superior, there’s likely always someone paying attention to your actions and responses throughout the workday.

When it comes to managing managers, there’s no universal approach. You may need to experiment a bit until you find a method that works with your unique group of managers. If you remain focused on your overall goal, which is to help each manager and their team meet (and ideally exceed) their requirements, you’ll be well on the road to successfully managing your managers.


If you have any other questions, please reach out to us at 630.928.0510 or fill out the form below and one of our Business Development Managers will contact you.


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