How To Manage Your Manager - Women In Leadership



‘How to manage upwards’ was a popular topic during the Early Careers: Maximising your potential: A programme for women at Savills (run by RedSky Learning). The relationship we have with our manager is important and has a huge influence on our career progression. On average, women tend to wait for their manager to decide upon when they are ready for promotion, this can result in frustration as we can be waiting a long time vs our male counterparts.

On the programme we discussed how taking ownership of your career plan is very much in your own hands and if we wait for others to determine our destiny, resentment may build over time.

We spent some time discussing how to ‘Know your manager’, looking at things from their perspective. We discussed what their manager’s goals, objectives and pressures were, their strengths and weaknesses and personal style and how these factors have a part to play in the relationship with our managers. Often our own career development plans are put to the bottom of our 121 agenda with our managers and therefore that valuable conversation doesn’t happen when it should, perhaps for several months.

It’s really about owning and driving your own career development by being proactive, our managers are not mind-readers so we need to speak up and be clear about what support we need. Many of the women on the programme expressed a desire to be promoted in the next 12 months, so we looked at action-oriented ways they could take ownership of their career progression and influence what is in their control.


We set a task for each of the delegates on the programme to have the conversation that they have been putting off.

The conversation that is focused purely on career progression and the next step; promotion. We discussed all of the barriers that had been problematic to this point; lack of time, lack of confidence, not prioritising development needs, not seeing development needs as important and agreed on ways to overcome these obstacles.


Self-limiting beliefs was a common barrier that came up in discussion so we looked at ways to overcome this challenge. This prevented many of the group from having that all important discussion about their potential for promotion.

We discussed whether these beliefs were fact or feeling and how they arrived at that decision. In the majority of cases, it was a belief based on feeling with no evidence. We looked back at the 180 feedback that every individual received and this reinforced how well they are perceived by their managers and colleagues.

We looked at positive self talk, creating positive self talk mantras, where are they when they are at their best, creating powerful post-it-notes to self and the support network created from the other delegates on the programme.

“The greatest limitations you will ever face will be those you place on yourself”


100% delegates felt that they are able to perform better in their role following the programme.

Since the programme a number of delegates have had highly effective, career development focused meetings with their manager, feeling empowered to ask for the support that they need with clarity and conviction.

“I have loved having the network and the confidence to ask for what I want”

“It has been a vital course for us to develop our own careers. It has armed us with the skills to move forward with our goals and the confidence to execute it”


The programme runs for approx 5 months and covers the following 4 modules:

  1. Playing to strengths
  2. Confident communication
  3. Creating your career journey
  4. Building strong networks

Plus 121 coaching

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