Manage Up/Manage Down

What kind of manager are you (or if you are not a manager, what type of manager is your manager)?  Do you manage up the organization structure or do you manage down the structure?  Not sure what I mean?  If you are a manager that takes order from the top and simply passes them on to your staff without any thought about whether the order is reasonable, is a good use of resources, asks the wrong ( or right) question, or will cause other projects or tasks to be delayed, you are managing down the organization.  On the other hand, if you use every opportunity to educate upper management on what skills and abilities your group has, how your group can make a difference to the department, division, or entire organization, or how the organization can improve customer satisfaction, retention, or profit return, then you are managing up the organization.

Whether either of these methods is right or wrong depends a lot on the type of management you have.  If your management consists of innovative, creative visionaries, managing from the top-down may be the most efficient mode for a successful company. Many people would label CEOs from companies like Apple and Microsoft with those labels because both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were very good at sensing what the public would be interested in buying and it was their vision of the future that often guiding many of the new products for each of these companies.

Other companies may have great managers, but they rely on innovation and new ideas to percolate up through the ranks.  Staff at all levels are encourage to make suggestions on new ways of doing current things, on new products that may new needs, or on ways to more efficiently service existing customers.

Either of these company types can be successful.  Companies that fail fall somewhere in between such as companies which have great manager, but not the innovative imagination of their competitors while at the same stifling suggestions, recommendations and new ways of looking at things by their lower staff members.

As the economy improves, you may be thinking about changing jobs or perhaps even changing careers.  If you really want to enjoy going to work, I would suggest that you look for one of these first two types of companies.  Which one depends on your own personality and for what position level you think you can apply.  In a time like this, coming out of a recession, picking the right bus to get on can make a huge impact on the rest of your career as some companies will soar and other may just be absorbed.

Yes, this entry was shorted than many in the past and I’m going to warn you now that they will continue to be a little shorter over the summer months because no one wants to stay inside to read a blog when they can be out doing something fun after work (like cutting the grass, trimming the shrubs, painting the house, etc.).  I thought about going to a one blog a week schedule instead, but decided that shorted, more concise blog entries on a regular basis would probably be appreciated more.  Tell me if I’m wrong.

I’m also going to be hosting a local study group for our SQL Server PASS chapter for the Microsoft BI track over the summer which will also take quite a bit of time, but which may also provide some great technical reads for those of you who are BI curious (that’s BI as in Business Intelligence).  But first I still have some stuff to finish up on DAX over the next week or two in my Saturday posts.

(To become a member of our study group for the Microsoft BI certification in SQL Server, you first need to become a PASS member.  It’s free.  Just go to:  Our study group requires PASS membership, but it is a virtual group and could include members from anywhere.  We are still getting everything set up to start, so you have time.  Email me for details at:


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