“I would have asked him about it, but the fact that he beat me to it is great,” Ms. Aaron said. “All I had to do was review and sign off.”
Bring recommendations. When asking your manager for guidance on an issue, explain the options you thought about, which you prefer and why. This shows you’ve done the research, understand the details and can smartly evaluate trade-offs. It also lets your boss choose among options rather than have to come up with them.
When you ask for feedback or a decision, specify a due date. “Don’t let them put off a decision for later, because later can turn into never,” Mr. Ng said, as your missive sinks into the e-correspondence morass.
Let your manager know that you need feedback by 5 p.m. Tuesday, for example, so you can send a report out at 5 p.m. Wednesday, or that if you don’t hear back by a certain (reasonable) time, you’ll move forward with your plan.
No surprises. Never surprise your boss, especially with bad news. The adage “Tell me early I’m your friend, tell me late I’m your critic” still holds, Ms. Newman said. If you are struggling or at risk of missing a deadline, bring your manager in as soon as possible and work together.
Build trust. Demonstrating your integrity and your dependability helps build a level of trust and will keep your manager from the urge to micromanage you. The personal values you exhibit are as important as the work you produce, Ms. Aaron said. This is especially important working remotely. Keep your boss apprised, Ms. Aaron said, as “it’s exhausting tracking people down.”
Managing up also means shielding your boss from unnecessary work. If you can’t get a task done, try to get a colleague to help rather than ask your boss to reassign the task. If you have a question, see if you can find the answer yourself first so you can let your manager know the avenues you tried.