On our journey through the stakeholders, people often think that “management” is the easiest one to figure out. But it may be trickier than you think!
I define “management” as the people who are given the power to direct your work, and as such are responsible for whether you do a good job or not.
Sure, it starts with your immediate boss, the person who tells you what to do. Even the person at the top of a company has to deal with a board of directors, although it can often be more fruitful to think of those people as partners.
If you think about it, your boss’s boss also has a stake in whether you do a good job. You may never interact with him or her directly, but the quality of your work is still important. Your boss will hear about it if you screw up. If you understand what the larger management chain needs from you, you’ll be able to make a better impression with them, deliver more deeply valuable work, and lay the groundwork for future promotions.
In complicated organizational structures, there can be other management stakeholders as well. Look to the managers of your suppliers, customers, and partners: Do they care about the work you do? Would interacting with them help you to open up your career options? What happens if you make one of your partners look particularly good to their management chain?
This whole category is about understanding how organizational decisions are made. When you help those decisions to be better, you’ve increased your scope of impact.
And since some of the decisions are around the job you’ll do in the future, these are great people to understand and develop great relationships with. It’s not about sucking up or playing politics, it’s about knowing what they need and how you can help them with their jobs.
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Series on Workplace Dynamics
- Part 1: Understand All Your Stakeholders
- Part 2: Understand Your Suppliers
- Part 3: Understand Your Management
- Part 4: Understand Your Customers
- Part 5: Understand Your Partners
- Part 6: Understand Your Own Needs
by Carl Dierschow