The support role at any digital marketing agency can vary in levels of responsibility and ownership. In my experience as an SEO Associate (the SEO support role) at Seer, I’ve been encouraged to take on challenges and ownership of several tasks that would normally be slotted under the Account Manager at other agencies. Seer challenges Associates to “manage up” and step into the managerial role.
“Managing up” refers to creating a productive and communicative working relationship between you and your manager. Some may say that “managing up” means making your manager’s life easier, but in establishing a smooth line of communication and working style between you both, you will also benefit.
Managing up can offer you the following:
- Establishment of trust
- Boost in productivity
- Increase in ownership
- Opportunities to step into the manager role
5 ways I’ve learned to manage up as an SEO Associate
Learning to manage up is something I work on daily as I onboard new accounts and build relationships with account managers. So far in my journey, here are a few ways I’ve learned to manage up:
1. Open up that line of communication
I’ve learned that two-way communication can go a long way. Here are a few things to openly communicate:
- Bandwidth – Let your manager know if you’re swamped for the week especially since they might not have a pulse on your other projects.
- Tip: Create a spreadsheet or dashboard that lays out your biggest priorities of the week and share that with your manager.
- Strengths & Weaknesses – Are there areas in which you excel or struggle? Let your manager know in what areas you want to grow.
- Roadblocks – Alert your manager ASAP of roadblocks getting in your way and work to tackle it together.
At Seer, the relationship between Associate and Account Manager is mutually beneficial. Creating an open line of communication will help your Account Manager pinpoint ways to help guide you toward the next step of your career.
2. Stay updated on projects
Monitor the performance of projects for any dips or spikes in performance. Reporting wins and alerting red flags to managers help establish trust and open up opportunities for you to take on ownership. Here are ways you can stay up-to-date:
- Monitoring overall traffic and keyword performance daily
- Creating alerts to yourself related to the project’s industry
- Keeping tabs on SEO-related updates
- Checking statuses of tasks and deliverables
In the same vein, jump on tasks and threads you feel confident tackling. Your manager will recognize your proactiveness.
3. Ask questions but also offer answers
It’s great to ask good questions when you’re unfamiliar with a task or process, but continually asking questions without proposing answers may suggest to a manager that you’re not solution-oriented.
The next time you ask a question, come prepared with as much of a confident answer as possible. It will show that you’ve put in the effort and thought, but perhaps need a second opinion.
4. Bring ideas and suggestions to the table
During meetings with your manager, offer ways to fix an issue you detected or boost performance on a project. Rope in industry-related news or a tactic you saw another manager enact. Your idea may be the next catalyst for the project’s success. Even if your suggestion isn’t implemented, your manager will appreciate and recognize the thought and effort.
5. Check for mistakes before your manager
At Seer, I’ve often heard that a goal is to receive as little feedback as possible. Not all feedback is negative and directional notes can help guide you toward ideas and strategies beyond the task at hand. However, the notes you likely do not want are the ones you’ve received time and time again. Perhaps it’s a formatting mistake or forgetting to copy someone on a message. Either way, it’s not conducive or productive for you and your manager to take another second or minute to mark that recurring mistake.
To minimize mistakes in my work, I’ve saved copies of my work with ample feedback and created checklists of my frequent errors. Before submitting my work for approval, I go down the checklist to audit for mistakes.
Save your manager and yourself time by cracking down on little errors that can be avoided.
If you’re excited about managing up and even interested in doing so as an Associate at Seer, visit our Careers page because we’re hiring across all departments and levels. We’re excited to meet you!