September 2020
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TD Magazine

Learn to Manage Up and Down

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Help your manager and colleagues achieve organizational success.

"A person is behind every workplace goal," writes Mechelle Roberthon in "Managing Well, Both Up and Down." Because of that, everyone has a role to play in helping colleagues and the organization achieve their goals. That is where managing up and down comes into play.


As an employee, it's not about striving to make yourself look good in front of your manager. And as a supervisor, it isn't about ensuring your team likes you. Instead, managing up and down is about contributing to your organization, team, and internal and external clients.

For direct reports, you can support your manager by understanding your daily tasks and responsibilities; learning how the way you handle tasks affects your supervisor, team, and the organization; and knowing that your leader is ultimately accountable for your and the team's successes and failures. Do your part to establish trust with your manager and give honest feedback.

As a manager, you can help your direct reports with those three previously noted tasks. Help them by making time for them, showing them that you genuinely care about the team, being honest about their performance, and delegating meaningful tasks and responsibilities that will contribute to their and the organization's success.

These tips were adapted from the September 2020 issue of TD at Work. Learn more at

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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