Transforming Performance - Upwards, Sideways and Down: Part 2

Frank Newberryin Training & Education

In Part 1, Trainer and Conference Speaker Frank Newberry asked if you were a one-dimensional person at work; alone in your own comfort zone - or whether you were working with people from different parts of the organisation to transform work performance. In this concluding part, Frank looks at how we can begin to start transforming work performance by managing upwards and sideways - not just down.

Managing Upwards and Sideways?

Just to clarify right at the outset:

1. Managing upwards just means that you more carefully manage your relationship with your boss, and/or your boss's boss, even in many cases managing a working relationship with leading board or committee members

2. Managing internally sideways means that you manage more carefully your relationship with your peers (people at your level) in other departments in the organisation

3. Managing externally sideways means that you manage more carefully your business relationship with your organisation's customers and end-users. Even if it is not part of your role, it is worth checking how the work you do directly or indirectly affects your organisation's customers. If you can see the connection, then you can get involved in sideways management

4. Managing sideways may also mean that you 'partner' with your suppliers, merchants and contractors

5. Managing downwards refers to you supervising staff. This is not the topic of this two-part article. That said, you can always get your staff involved in the process of managing upwards and sideways

Only a few people make time to manage upwards

Let us start with you managing upwards. In my experience, only a few people make time to manage upwards. More often than not this happens when it becomes a necessity, e.g. performance standards are slipping and you are not getting support from your manager. In this sector, many people are being managed or supervised by people from a different work background than their own.

Your manager may not have your expertise or experience in the work, and perhaps there is now a leadership vacuum, i.e. a lack of meaningful input from above.

Moving onto internal sideways management. Again, in my experience in small organisations, sideways managing is hardly ever done (compared to big organisations). In larger outfits - we may be fighting for the attention of our peers in other departments - just to get our jobs done reasonably well.

About 50% more important to your success

Moving onto external sideways management. Good customer relations and good deals from suppliers are vital, and we need to be seen to be managing our time to actively pursue both. As mentioned already - you may want to check your connections to customers and end-users.

As mentioned in Part 1 - upwards and sideways activities are about 50% MORE important to your success than managing downwards (keeping team members working well).

Also mentioned in Part 1 research also shows that - upwards and sideways activities are well over TWICE as important (as supervisory actions) for our career success. So where do we start?

We start with you!

A great place for you to start is to update your Job Description and the Employee Specification for your job. They may be vague, or out of date, or they may not even exist - great! Check around for best practice and then update the documents to show what you think would be best - in terms of you maximising your contribution.

Visit the key players (above you, sideways and down) to get their input on the documents you are updating. Incorporate their good ideas and explain how your updated approach will help everyone, then agree a 'trial period'. Strive to make your updated approach work, then review and adapt your approach in the light of lessons learned during the trial.

If you do not yet deal with suppliers, you might want to give it a go for a 'trial period'. You could do all the preparation and then negotiate deals for the manager responsible to 'sign off' for you. You can try out 'partnering' with suppliers on results and outcomes - not just on price. Give suppliers regular updates on results.

Time well spent

There is a Time Management issue. Getting around to everyone will take time, but it is time well spent. That's why it is vital that you get a 'trial period' signed off by your boss. It will reflect well on your manager if you make a success of your updated approach to the work.

Finally, here are some tips on how to approach people to discuss maybe doing things a little differently in the workplace. Research suggests that people seem to like it when you:

1. Show interest in their world of work

2. Avoid complaining about your work

3. Can see the funny side of things

4. Are open about what you want

5. Ask politely for their help

6. Offer to help them

© 2019 Frank Newberry

Let great value training come to you!

A great way to help your colleagues and your boss to transform work performance is with one of our popular and great value, LANTRA Accredited Supervisory Management training programmes.

Proven, unique and highly interactive:

• Programmes are now being run exclusively In-House (at your place of work)

• At dates, times and durations convenient for you and your organisation

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This great value training will be preceded by some diagnostic work (at no extra charge) so that you get only the Supervisory Management training you need - and nothing more!

The LANTRA Accredited modules you can 'pick and mix' from are:

Taking Charge - For new or untrained supervisors and managers

Getting Better Results - For when the work team needs to do better

Enhanced Communication Skills - For when communication needs to improve

Problem Solving and Decision-Making - Based on your real-life work problems

Dealing with Difficult People and Situations - Whether colleagues, customers or suppliers

For more details on this programme visit