5 Tips on How to Manage Up in the Workplace

Taking the initiative + building relationships = Managing Up

Pretty easy and fairly simple, but many of us still struggle with this in the workplace. As such, here are some of the best tips I can provide on how to accomplish this feat:

1. Take Initiative- Do not wait to be told do something just do it. Look for ways to improve day-to-day operations. Suggest ideas with outside the box thinking. By taking initiative, you increase visibility within the company. Management will take notice.

2. Keep the Boss Informed- Communication is the key. Make sure they know everything there is to know about an assignment or project. This helps build a solid relationship with your boss.

3. Leave Personal Opinions to Yourself- Like mom always said, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say nothing at all.” Despite how you personally feel about your boss, it should not deter you from giving maximum effort. This is tough because you’re not always going to agree with them. Plain and simple: Be professional at all times.

4. Stay Away from Office Politics- Beware of the internal struggles and daily gossip. Stay safe from being involved in any name calling accusations by not participating in any conversations degrading a co-worker. If you can’t say it directly to the person being mentioned don’t bother talking behind their back.

5. Build Relationships- There is no “I” in team. Make it a point to work well with others. Know their name and get to know them personally. People like to work with someone who treats them as equals. Everyone cheers for the team player that gets the promotion.

Managing up helps you add an irreplaceable value to the company. Do not restrict going above and beyond for just your boss. Do it for the team as well and all else will follow. Create a winning work environment where success is achievable through hard work.

About the Author
Kaleef M. Lloyd is an Indpendent Public Relations Practitioner & Social Media Strategist. He embraces the art of storytelling and feels everything has a story to tell. Find Kaleef on Twitter via @kaleefmlloyd.


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Do PR Students and Pros Want to Work In-House or at an Agency?

January is almost here and you know what that means? Companies are hiring!

While finding jobs in this economy is no easy task, most places look to do their hiring at the start of a new year in order to get people on board and prepared to execute new yearly plans.

So with that in mind, I’m curious to know just what types of jobs people are looking to pursue. Whether you currently have a position or you’re pursuing one, please take a look at the poll below and submit a response.

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Learning How to Accept Feedback During your Annual Review

Most of us have engaged in a 360-degree feedback process or will soon in our new public relations careers. Companies put employees through this rigor typically on an annual basis, with the end-goal to learn and then improve the individual or team performance.

When we get feedback – say, through annual job performance at an agency, team evaluation at corporate or just in a sly email from a manager – we usually align with one of two camps:

1. Oppose the evaluation process and get angry we have to participate.

2. Embrace feedback as a way to grow into a higher level at the PR profession and learn more about ourselves.

Many of us relate to the first category. Sometimes the truth hurts. In reality though, feedback is a gift and can be an indispensable tool in helping us become fully aligned – as individuals, professionals, teams and overall organizations, when used properly. There is value in knowing what others think about us and there is equal value in staying open to that feedback.

Here are some suggestions for taking the high road and accepting feedback in a positive way.

  • If we’re honest with ourselves, we know when there’s truth. Ignoring feedback hurts no one more than ourselves. Feedback can be an opportunity for further personal growth when taken to heart
  • Ongoing feedback is key. Don’t wait until the monumental, once a year job performance to get feedback. Ask bosses, co-workers, PR mentors and team members for feedback after projects. Team dynamics will become more collaborative and open communication will foster honesty on a frequent basis. After all, a top goal in public relations is to provide seamless communication in the work place.
  • Take and integrate what you learn into your daily routine. You heard. You listened. You responded. The rewards will prove themselves in your career, business, and life. When we do respond with action we gain credibility. Don’t you love it when you ask something from someone – and they respond? Of course! You will gain respect from the people who gave you this feedback. You will build trust and loyalty. This will grow your group of networks for your PR career. And, you will ultimately improve!

The most self-aware individuals become the highest performers and contributors in the workplace and in life. Being aware is the key to growth, whether this is within yourself as a new PR pro or within your PR team.

About the Author
Kristin Kaufman is founder of Alignment, Inc., formed in 2007 to help individuals, corporations, boards of directors and non-profits find alignment within themselves and their organizations. During her 25 years of corporate experience, she held executive positions at Hewlett-Packard, Vignette Corporation and United Health Group. Her first book – Is this Seat Taken? How Incidental Meetings can Change your Life – is slated to appear in bookstores fall 2011. Connect with her on Twitter via: @kristinkaufman

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Graduation Proclamation: 5 Things Every PR Grad Should Understand

Ahhh….late-Spring-early-Summer: that special time of year that has everyone feeling “like totally over” their allergies yet not quite ready for the near nakedness and sheer sweatiness of swimsuit season. Oh the joy.

This time of year is dedicated to longwinded inspiring graduation speeches, drunken late-night fêtes, and perhaps – most notably – the sinking feeling that elicits thoughts that may go a little like this:

“What-the-eff-did-I-just-learn-in-the-last-four-years-or-was-it-five-and-holy-schmoly-I-think-I-owe-someone-maybe-a-bank-maybe-the-government-maybe-a-Nigerian-prince-20-thousand-big-ones-that-I-can’t-pay-for-with-my-job-at-Starbucks. But-at-least-I-have-health-insurance-and-my-mom’s-couch-is-looking-pretty-darn-good.”

Sound familiar? Ok, well for those of you living in reality and not in complete denial of the stressors that tend to ensue after the post-graduation hangover elation wears off, I’m gonna kick it to ya on the reals: You will find a job. It’s true.

I’m not speaking to you as an economist (FYI they are wrong 50% of the time anyway) an analyst (yep, same issue…50%, it’s a fact) or a weather-woman (not really relevant but they seem to have the same horrible statistics), but rather as a Communications Pro who has built a thriving business in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Or at least according to that bald guy with a beard.

So what does that have to do with you….a mere graduate? Well, it has everything to do with you because you are literally standing on a pile of “golden opportunity.” Here’s why:

1. You Add Value: Think all that late night Facebooking, constant Tweeting, non-stop texting, and obsession with trending topics was a waste of time? Think again. If you understand social media at it’s core, know how to build followings and engage fans, and don’t mind formulating an intelligent opinion, an agency will recognize this as added value. As of this moment in history digital reach is a very, if not the most, important piece of the Communications puzzle.

2. You Are Flexible Yet Efficient: Youth is an advantage because of its malleable quality. If you mastered time-management skills in college and were an efficient organizer of your oft-scattered schedule, you can apply those skills to the highly dynamic and ever-changing world of PR.  This adaptability combined with today’s millennial attitude of “mobile me” surely has its place.

3. You Are Responsive: To me, there is nothing worse than working with an outdated colleague (or industry for that matter) who refuses to accept the reality of our digital, technology-bound, work environment. Because of your tech-savvy generational gifts, your “wired” mentality is a huge, fat plus for an industry that requires responsiveness. Oh, and word to the wise: Response equals Respect people! Don’t wait for 2 hours to respond to that email…I know it came to your smartphone, and I DM’d you about it too.

4. Your Enthusiasm Is Inspiring:  When you get to be my age (because I live in L.A. being in my 30’s makes me feel super duper old, so I often say old people sounding things like “when you get to be my age…”), and you’ve endured some of life’s heartbreaks challenges, you tend to lose sight of all of the amazing, inspiring, changing-for-the-good happenings around you.  Bringing a positive attitude (bonus trait: sense of humor) into a working environment is one of the reasons the “big guns” will want you around.

5. You are cheap: Ok so this is one of the moments where my directness can be misread as a little bit inappropriate, but this is 100% the absolute truth: you DO have an advantage over that “seasoned” PR manager who is not #1-#4 above but still demands nearly six figures. You’ll work hard; keep late hours, and all for under 40k a year.  So if you’re willing to jump in head first, you have a distinct advantage here – and may even have the opportunity to grow with a smaller, yet up and coming, agency.  Total. And utter. Bonus

The truth is, you have everything you need to land a stellar PR job – you just have to work hard, stay focused, and not buy in to all the negativity circling around the media stratosphere.  And always remember: the greatest opportunities lie just beneath the shadows of life’s greatest challenges.

About the Author

Rebekah Iliff is an organizational management, development, and communications professional who has served clients across multiple industries and across the globe for over eight years. She is an effective communicator, team builder, and creative problem solver who has worked with over 100 entrepreneurs, thought leaders, technology brands, healthcare companies, financial advisors, entertainment leaders, and small business owners over the past several years. Contact her on Twitter via @ttcrebekah.

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Would You Like a Raise or a Promotion with that Review?

Your annual review is looming. You think you deserve a raise, and maybe even a promotion. What’s the best way to ask?

Perhaps the best way to start this conversation is with this simple but little-known fact: raises and promotions are not always tied together in timing, if you’re working in a pay-for-performance (PFP) system. Why? Because in a PFP system, the focus is on your performance. That is, how are you doing?

If the review and the potential salary increases are delivered at the same time, the focus tends to be on only the money — at least on the receiving end.

Bottom line: if you wait until your review to have the “I’d like a raise or promotion” conversation with your management, you’re too late.

There are three keys to getting raises/promotions . Think of these points as the three legs of a stool — take any one “leg” away and you’ll have a more difficult time achieving your goal and you’ll eventually tip over.

The three keys:

1. Bloom where you’re planted. That is, do an outstanding job in your current position.

2. Look for every opportunity to grow. Volunteer for new assignments, ask to be a project lead — show initiative and stretch yourself. 

3. Share your goal of a raise/promotion with your manager (or the person whose support you need) and get their input on what you need to do to achieve that. Then, make sure they have the opportunity to see the results that come from those efforts.

Now — have the conversation! You’re ready for more! My best to you!

About the Author
Terri Albee, CCP, CPC, is managing partner of HR Ops Team LLC, which provides scalable and affordable human resources counseling. Terri has more than 25 years of experience in a variety of industry verticals from start-up/entrepreneurial organizations to the Fortune 500, both domestically and globally, and has planned and managed HR operations through numerous funding, acquisition and transition events. Additionally, Terri teaches at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is also a certified professional coach.

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