Nadia De Ala, Founder of Real You Leadership

Managing Up in a Hybrid Environment

Jean Hsu,Yellow Squiggle

In this episode of Lead Time Chats, Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range, chats with Nadia De Ala, Founder of Real You Leadership, about managing up in a hybrid work environment.

Nadia and Jean discuss:

  • What holds people back from managing up
  • Not limiting yourself to managing up - think about managing up, down, and all around
  • How to get around the fear or taking up space and advocating for yourself
  • Managing up with an absent or even toxic manager
  • Asking powerful open-ended questions to build a deeper relationship with your manager and teammates
  • How remote work can make managing up easier…or more difficult

Takeaways from Nadia

Create a mutual understanding of how you and your boss will work together

"In remote work, it is still just as imperative as in real life work to know your boss, period. Know their energy level, know when the best time to connect with them is, know how they work, know their communication style, and align yourself with them. If you have an introvert boss, but you're an extrovert, name it with them and be courageous and vulnerable and say, I can tell that we communicate so differently. How can we best communicate together? How can we best disagree together? How can we best move through disagreements and conflict together? Design that plan in advance and say, Hey, I want you to know that I want to stay in front of you. I want to make sure that you know what I'm working on. What's the best way to report that to you on a weekly basis? Stay present and say, I'm gonna report every Monday morning. I'm gonna send you a quick slack message saying, This is what I'm working on this week. Every Monday morning, I'm gonna send you a quick email with at least three points of my priorities this week, so you know what I'm working on. Whether or not they reply to it, it's important that you keep putting that proof out there. You keep making that effort of connection and it's really easy, honestly, with remote work, in my opinion, when you do it that way, and say, Okay, cool. Team members are good. We're fine. Awesome. I'm gonna keep working. Oh, great. Don't have to worry about Jean. She's on it, but I'm still seeing that she's doing something and she's doing it well.”

Managing up is about being human and building relationships

“I think people don't realize how emotionally charged managing up can feel, because you're essentially telling people what you might want in your role, in your career, in your growth, or in a certain project. That can feel like you're taking up too much space or being too much, or maybe being too proud or too arrogant. If, for instance you're saying, I'm managing up for my next promotion, I deserve more, or I'm managing up for my next level pay in compensation, this is not enough. A lot of friction can come up and we might feel that we might get scared of rejection or retaliation or being told that we're being too much or we're not deserving of it, and that can be very scary because you are essentially venturing into the unknown. And I think a lot of challenges is that people don't realize it's not about demanding, it's about building solid relationships with your manager, your cross-functional stakeholders, whoever it is that you might need a mutually beneficial relationship with, that is who you're managing up, down, and all around with, so I think people don't realize that it's about being a human and building a relationship.”

Learn what to do to manage up. Don’t guess!

“The biggest thing you can do is be very curious and learn how to ask really great, powerful managing up questions, which tend to be open-ended questions by asking what's possible with my role? What's possible with advancement? What's possible with growth? What do you wanna see for me?

For instance, if you want to manage up and cultivate a path towards your next promotion or your next level role, you might need to start asking these questions, which requires you to build trust and to activate your voice, which is the advocacy piece, and say: This is what I really want.

I want a promotion by this time next year, or I want promotion during our next performance review cycle or next advancement cycle that's possible. What do you need to see from me, boss or manager, to be able to see that I deserve that or that I'm ready for that next level?

What are the actual actions that you need to see? How do you need to see me show up on our team as a leader, et cetera? Whether it's hard skills or soft skills, we need to ask for more clarity and that's part of managing up so that we know what to do versus guessing what to do.”

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About Lead Time Chats

Listen in on unscripted conversations between Jean Hsu, VP of Engineering at Range and other leaders in tech to help you make remote teamwork a little bit less challenging.

Lead Time Chats is brought to you by Range. Range helps remote teams work better together — with asynchronous check-ins, integrated team-building, fewer and more effective meetings, and easy goal-tracking. When you run your team with Range, you’ll always know what’s going on — without having to be in back-to-back meetings.

Checking-in with Range creates more focus time for heads-down work, all while feeling a deeper sense of connection and belonging with your team.

To learn more about Range, you can check it out here.

Season 4 Episodes

» Episode 1: Najeeb Khan on Fostering Belonging on Remote Teams

» Episode 2: Hong Quan on Hiring for Remote Teams

» Episode 3: Jori Lallo on Working Effectively Across Timezones

» Episode 4: Suzan Bond on Navigating Conflict on Remote Teams

» Episode 5: Andy Detskas on Building an Inclusive Team

» Episode 6: Steph Mann on reinforcing values on remote teams

» Episode 7: Fred Plais on Globally Distributed Teams

» Episode 8: Brooks Scott on Fostering Diversity and Inclusion on Remote Teams

» Episode 9: Joaquín Roca on Feedback and Performance on Remote Teams

» Episode 10: Douglas Ferguson on Facilitating Large Meetings on Remote Teams

Season 3 Episodes

» Episode 1: Jen Kim on how startups can hire better

» Episode 2: Kate Heddleston on managing burnout on your team

» Episode 3: Jessie Duan on the Chief of Staff to CTO role

» Episode 4: Dan Na on pushing through friction

» Episode 5: Pat Kua on flavors of tech leadership

» Episode 6: Anna Sulkina on Endurance Sports and Software Engineering

Season 2 Episodes

» Episode 1: Camille Fournier on making boring plans

» Episode 2: Tess Rinearson on early career engineering managers

» Episode 3: Kim Scott on building for systemic justice

» Episode 4: Sumeet Arora on moving on from a big company

» Episode 5: Rachael Stedman on IC manager work

» Episode 6: Chris Bee on Behaviors of Effective Eng Leaders

» Episode 7: Lynne Tye on the Engineering Hiring Landscape

» Episode 8: Beau Lebens on Distributed Team Meetups

» Episode 9: Indrajit Khare on Getting Acquired by Google

» Episode 10: Jack Danger on Technical Debt

» Episode 11: Sarah Milstein on Successful Remote and Hybrid Teams

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» Episode 1: Will Larson on the path of the senior engineer

» Episode 2: Duretti Hirpa on mentoring junior and mid-level engineers

» Episode 3: Cate Huston on working with an external coach

» Episode 4: Juan Pablo Buriticá on common eng manager mistakes

» Episode 5: Gergely Orosz on the decision to go into management

» Episode 6: Lara Hogan on leading effectively in a pandemic

» Episode 7: Kaya Thomas on common early career engineer challenges

» Episode 8: Uma Chingunde on starting a VPE role in a pandemic

» Episode 9: Katie Wilde on supporting your team's mental health

» Episode 10: Akhil Gupta on navigating uncertainty in new roles

» Episode 11: Harper Reed on giving everyone a voice in team meetings

» Episode 12: Marc Hedlund on sponsorship

Nadia De Ala on Managing Up in a Hybrid Environment
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