When you hear the words “manager” and “mentor,” you often think of those above others; those whose job it is to provide guidance and feedback. But after attending an educational breakout at ASAE’s Annual Meeting & Exposition, I realized that management and mentoring should go both ways. We all need guidance and feedback!
The session itself was hosted by Kimberly Tuttle, Director of Partnerships and Events at the American Institute of Architecture Students, and below are just a few of the tips she passed along in regards to managing and mentoring up:
1. Provide praise
Isn’t it nice when managers sing your praises? Regardless of role, we ALL enjoy that. Well, your manager is no exception. How often do you praise him or her? When they do something well, whether it’s related to a project or how they handled a particular situation, let them know. The more you praise them when they do something well, the more likely they are to praise you when you do something well.
2. Ask how you can help them be successful
Has your manager ever asked if there’s anything they can help you with or provide you with to make you more successful? Hopefully they have! But have you ever asked the same in return? If you’re just as committed to helping your manager succeed as they are to helping you succeed, not only will your relationship strengthen, but you’re both likely to get to where you want to go.
3. Have the tough conversations
Providing your manager with feedback is tough. Tuttle, who’s done it many times, said it’s hard for her too. But it’s necessary. Not only does bottling up your emotions cause you more distress, but nine times out of 10, your manager doesn’t even know that what they do or did upset(s) you.
By simply letting them know - in a kind way, that’s the key! - they’re likely to change their behavior AND be more aware of how they handle similar situations moving forward.
4. Take constructive criticism positively
In regards to providing your manager with feedback, you can really only do that if you’re willing to also accept feedback. Ask for feedback often and be open and receptive to that feedback. Again, this is a two-way street!
Building strong coworker relationships is the key to professional success. Tuttle recommends trying out these best practices the moment you start working with someone new. Think of it as laying the foundation for your relationship. (A foundation that will serve you both well long-term.)
And speaking of working with someone new, if they’re new to your organization altogether and you’re the one in a management position, check out our free guide below for tips and best practices regarding new member onboarding. (The better the onboarding process, the lower the turnover rate!)