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THERE'S ONLY ONE DIRECTION TO GO

Managing up: 1. The rare act of transparent communication with one's professional superior or superiors to get needs met, thoughts heard and contribute to the success of boss, team and organization: 2. Courageous upward leadership with the intent to establish trusting partnerships and own one's results.

Interns, entry-level and even high-level employees don't know how to manage upward effectively because they're never provided a blueprint early in their career. Practicing the tips below can expedite career opportunities and differentiate you in an economy that is in need of high-fliers more than ever. Joe Takash, special to the Times

Choose good timing: Discover the best times in which to approach your boss by simply asking "When are the best times to meet with you if I have questions?" This simple inquiry can build credibility because of the awareness and consideration of their busy schedule. An added benefit is that when you meet with them, you're likely to have a more focused, less distracted listener.

Prepare and plan: Practice your approach vs. just winging it so you can succinctly explain up front why you're there and what you need from them. Warning: Be solution-focused. Bosses want to know what you have thought of or would suggest about the inquiries you have. This is a crucial component for demonstrating leadership and initiative.

Align understanding: If your boss does not state his or her expectations or ask about yours, don't waste energy griping to others about it. Instead, be clear about what they need from you. Requesting the primary duties you should be focusing on or discovering the qualities that make up the ideal professional in your position not only impresses them, but also provides you with a road map for success.

Follow-up/follow-through: One of the biggest barriers for positive change is lack of accountability. In managing upward, you can hold yourself and boss accountable by agreeing on times/dates to follow-up at the conclusion of each meeting or communication exchange. Your boss may think "These behaviors would be great in a client services or sales position," which may be a promotion you earn twice as fast as you may have.

Own your results: A young lady named Karen once approached me after a keynote presentation I delivered to her company. With a pleasant, apprehensive smile, she said: "Joe, I really believe I'm equipped to be our marketing manager. I have experience, passion and knowledge, but I don't know what to say to my boss. I was wondering if you have advice." I said, "Karen, I have for you a magic formula and it can be described with one word: Ask!" I politely explained to her that the biggest hurdle to success is that cynical voice within each of us. Owning your results doesn't mean you won't experience fear as you navigate your career, it's the commitment to courageously ask for what you want and be prepared to state why and how all will benefit.

Joe Takash, a behavior strategist, is a speaker and the author of "Results Through Relationships: Building Trust, Performance and Profit Through People." His Web site is www.JoeTakash.com.

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