According to London, a senior lecturer at the Allan Gray Centre for Values Based Leadership at UCT GSB, “managin up” – is the subtle art of anticipating a boss’s needs and coming up with solutions ahead of the crunch.
London said this ability of anticipation and proactivity if delicately and smartly tackled, is key to doing the best job possible in a fast-changing workplace.
“In a world in which technological advancement is driving dramatic change in the workplace and the economy, managing up – which requires agility of thought and action – is a great skill to sharpen if you want to future-proof your career,” said London.
“In the more dynamic Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), people will increasingly find that they have to work with a larger variety of people at different times, some above and some below them in terms of rank, expertise, or experience; this constant rotation means that an ability to manage up – which can mean anticipating needs and coming up with solutions without being asked – is that much more important.”
Director of Executive Education at the UCT GSB, Kumeshnee West indicated that WEF has identified the top 10 skills that will be needed in 2020.
“These essential skills have long been part of most good leadership and management development programmes – and they will need to be scaled up,” she said.
These are Complex problem solving; critical thinking; creativity; people management; coordinating with others; emotional intelligence; judgement and decision making; service orientation; negotiation and cognitive flexibility.
According to London, these skills need to be underpinned by an orientation to life-long learning.
“The importance of learning agility cannot be over-emphasised as various experts in the field of management have said, the ability to learn, be creative, develop, and grow is today’s only sustainable competitive advantage in the fast-changing world of business.”