0863840132 mark@markdonovan.ie

A question I’m frequently asked by my clients is, “Mark, what can I do to manage upwards more effectively?”.

It reminds me of an experience I had a long long time ago but still very relevant for today.

“Mark, can you go down to Bakery immediately, they need someone there for the day”.

As a part-timer in Superquinn, working weekends for pocket money, this was one of the plum jobs.

The bakers left at 10 am and for the rest of the day, I was on my own cleaning the bakery.

This meant I didn’t have to work at the ‘front line’ of the store, packing bags or bringing out trollies.

At the mercy of ‘the trainee managers’ who usually followed the ‘Attila the Hun’ style of management.

I wasn’t going to let this opportunity go by.

I knew the bakery manager was hard to please.

He regularly sent part-timers back down to the ‘front line’

for not doing the job he wanted.

That morning, he brought me around and showed me what he wanted to be cleaned.

He brought me to his table.

“Mark, this is my work area”.

That day, I cleaned places that had not been cleaned in a long time.

I pulled out racks and drawers that had been neglected.

When I came in the following Saturday, the bakers said that I had done a fantastic job.

I saw the bakery manager coming towards me and prepared myself for the ‘big pat on the back that I would surely get’.

“Mark, you did an OK job”.

Deflated, I followed the manager around.

He brought me to his table.

“Mark, when I arrived in on Monday morning, this area could have been cleaned better”.

The penny finally dropped.

That day, I did half of the cleaning, I had done the previous Saturday but, the boss’s shiny table, never mind eating your dinner off the table, you could eat it off the floor underneath it.

When I came in the following Saturday, the bakery manager greeted me with a big smile.

“Mark, you are the best guy we have ever had here, I am going to ensure, we get you down every Saturday”.

I am consistently asked, Mark, can you help me manage upwards more effectively.

To manage upwards effectively, we need to know what our boss’s key priorities are.

What is your boss’s shiny table?

And boss’s always have their shiny tables!