Managing Up on Channel 9 Today Extra

Managing Up Channel 9 Today Extra David Campbell Belinda Russell Sue Ellson

Managing Up on Channel 9 Today Extra

By Sue Ellson

Date: 24 August 2023 10:47am
Media: Channel 9’s Today Extra Show, National Australian Television
Story: Managing Up
Hosts: David Campbell and Belinda Russell
Guest: Sue Ellson
Video Link:

On 24 August 2023, I appeared on Channel 9’s Today Extra show to talk about the popular #ManagingUp on TikTok that has had over 5.5 million views. Here is the recording on the Sue Ellson YouTube Channel.

David Campbell, Belinda Russell and Sue Ellson on the topic of Managing Up on Channel 9’s Today Extra


Welcome back Many of the modern workplace trends have demanded better flexibility and work-life balance but the latest is a little different It’s called Managing Up and it isn’t as much work as it sounds.

Career Expert Sue Ellson joins us from Melbourne for more How does Managing Up work Sue and why do you think this trend has taken off?

Well it’s another trend that’s gone wild on TikTok the place where a lot of Gen Zed are using micro learning and they’re actually picking up lots of tips and tricks via the platform and in this case they’re learning how to understand how the boss works, understanding how they can work better, keep the boss informed, identify challenges and also set some realistic goals and I think that the reason it’s really taken off is it’s hit a nerve people the Job Mobility Rate according to the ABS for under 24s is up to nearly 15% so they’re probably sick of moving jobs and thinking maybe the other alternative is to Manage Up.

It’s interesting isn’t it so what are these skills what skills are they learning that they are fast learning on TikTok?

Well there’s a lot of catchy slogans. Things like ‘your urgency is not my emergency’ and they’re also asking for longer time to make those important decisions but I really love the way they’re learning to speak up I think that’s important and they’re working out an open dialogue so there’s a good two-way conversation and they’re obviously identifying any roadblocks that are there as well.

Well good news if you’re a business owner and you have a high turnover of staff so what are the likely impacts on managers when employees start to take charge?

Well I imagine some bosses are going to feel a little bit threatened in the past it took time to build up those skills whereas now with a search query or an AI prompt we can get that information really really quickly so they could feel very threatened it could also identify toxic behaviors in the workplace and also if the technology comes in there could be a loss of authority for some of those middle managers.

But long term are there any benefits?

Absolutely because this open dialogue is really going to help people understand that it is important to have that two-way piece. The individual themselves can clarify their values and their work style they have a much better comprehension of their work-life balance improving their self-efficacy skills and also I’d like to think that it reduces micromanagement and the fact that these younger people are taking that responsibility on I guess it is behoven of managers to ask themselves well why do they feel that they need to be managed up and maybe managers need to up their game as well.

Lessons for everyone Thank you so much Sue Thanks Sue

Thanks Belinda Thanks David

All right when we return we’ll have the latest Nine News headlines

How does Managing Up work and why do you think this trend has taken off?

Managing Up is not a new trend…the idea has been around for a long time, but the trend is circulating widely on TikTok.
According to Google, almost 40% of Generation Z use TikTok and Instagram as their search engine, so when a topic hits a nerve, it can go viral quite quickly. I would say that it has taken off as viral short form videos on TikTok can provide accessible and diverse micro learnings that people can relate to and #ManagingUp has hit a nerve.

Essentially, it involves

  • understanding your manager’s work style and adjusting your approach to make life easier
  • discussing and setting realistic expectations
  • keeping your manager informed as to what you are doing
  • asking for guidance or help
  • flagging anything stopping progress

Is it any different to what has happened in the past with younger workers?

In the past, a lot of workplace knowledge and experience was gained over time, so someone who had been in the role for longer would naturally know more than the person who is a newer recruit.

However, nowadays, everyone has access to information via a search query or an AI prompt and the younger generations don’t necessarily keep the information in their memory, they just know how to find information and use it to solve problems.

That said, there is still a place for personal dialogue before, during and after a task or project and a combination of people and technology will usually deliver a better result.

Does it have any similarities to reverse mentoring where a younger person shares knowledge with an older mentor?

It can, especially if the area of expertise is new to the older worker. Sadly, I see too many people rely on their accumulated knowledge and they seem to have forgotten that we need to be continually learning. Whilst I don’t recommend that we all jump on TikTok to learn our own workplace strategies, I would definitely encourage people to maintain responsibility for keeping themselves up to date and aware of new trends.

What skills are these younger workers using to manage up?

A range of skills that will be valuable throughout their entire career including:

– courage to speak up
– setting realistic goals
– clarifying questioning
– identifying roadblocks

What I really appreciate about this trend is that it is actually providing a lot of examples on how to manage up – everything from catchy terms like ‘their urgency is not your emergency’ through to asking for additional time to make important decisions and planning ahead.

What are the likely impacts on managers when younger workers start taking charge?

It depends on the manager. Some will see it as a younger worker who is proactive about their role and their career and it increases the opportunity for an open dialogue and others may feel threatened by it.

There definitely could be some resistance if the manager is out of their depth managing an assertive worker and it may also reveal a toxic workplace culture that is resistant to change…

Ultimately, it could reduce the authority and value of middle management because technology could be set up to manage more of the work without direct supervision.

– feel threatened
– possible resistance
– reveal toxic behaviours
– loss of authority

Are there any benefits to this trend in the longer term?

It will definitely help workers clarify their values and preferred work style. Younger workers appear to be much clearer on the meaning of work/life balance and this is one way that individuals can improve their own level of self-efficacy and I would like to think that it would reduce micro management as managers would be kept well informed about what is happening.

– clarify values and work style
– more work/life balance
– improve self-efficacy
– reduce micro management

That said, I guess we need to ask why do younger workers feel as if they have to take responsibility for managing up? It could be a sign that managers need to up their game too.


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