Leadership Compacts: The Key to Managing Up

Managing up is something that many worry about and many others write about. Larry Bossidy, in his article "What Your Leader Expects of You" in the Harvard Business Review, suggests that leaders create a compact with their direct reports.

This compact spells out what the leader expects and what he will provide, so that he and his direct reports know exactly how to work well together.

Of his direct reports, he expects:
  • get involved
  • generate ideas
  • be willing to collaborate
  • be willing to lead initiatives
  • develop leaders as you develop
  • stay current
  • anticipate 
  • drive your own growth
  • be a player for all seasons
And his direct reports can expect:
  • provide clarity of direction
  • set goals and objectives
  • give frequent, specific, and immediate feedback
  • be decisive and timely
  • be accessible
  • demonstrate honesty and candor
  • offer an equitable compensation plan
Keep in mind that Larry is a CEO and these expectations are for senior executives, but they can be modified to fit any manager and direct report. 

I love the idea since it takes the guesswork and tension out of a critical new business relationship. Everyone goes into a new job wanting to impress and succeed, and worrying how to work best with their new boss. Wouldn't it be great to start that relationship off with a compact? You as the report would know exactly what your boss wants and will offer in return. 

And if you as the boss do the same for your reports, imagine how productive everyone can be not worrying and instead just working? Talk about a simple way to improve both morale and bottom line.

Do you want a compact with your boss? And if you have reports, will you offer them one?

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