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Mastering the Art of Managing Up

In post-production, just like in all careers, success isn't just about excelling in your role; it's also about effectively managing relationships with your superiors. This practice, commonly referred to as "managing up," is a crucial skill that can propel your career forward and foster a positive work environment. In the world of post-production, mastering the art of managing up can lead to greater job satisfaction, increased productivity, and enhanced opportunities for growth.

Understanding Managing Up

Managing up involves proactively cultivating a positive and productive relationship with your supervisors. These superiors could be the editor, the post-producer, or all the way up to the showrunner. It's about aligning your goals, communication style, and work approach with theirs to ensure mutual success. Rather than simply reacting to directives from above, managing up empowers you to actively contribute to the decision-making process and influence the outcomes.

The Benefits of Managing Up

Some of the benefits of managing up include:

  1. Improved Communication: By understanding your manager's preferences, communication style, and priorities, you can tailor your messages effectively, leading to clearer understanding and fewer misunderstandings.

  2. Enhanced Performance: When you're aligned with your manager's goals and expectations, you're better equipped to deliver results that contribute to the overall success of the team and organization.

  3. Increased Visibility: Proactively managing up can help you gain recognition for your contributions and expertise, potentially leading to career advancement opportunities.

  4. Fostered Trust and Respect: Building a strong rapport with your superiors based on trust and respect lays the foundation for a positive and supportive work environment.

Strategies for Effective Managing Up

To successfully manage up, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Understand Your Manager's Perspective: Take the time to understand your manager's priorities, communication style, and preferred methods of working. Ask yourself - do they prefer email communication? A phone call? Is your manager concerned with the budget or with the creative output? These insights will enable you to anticipate their needs and align your efforts accordingly.

  2. Communicate Effectively: Keep lines of communication open with your manager, providing regular updates on your progress, challenges, and accomplishments. Be proactive in seeking feedback and clarification when needed. Keep track of the answers, and try not to ask the same question twice.

  3. Anticipate Needs and Offer Solutions: Instead of waiting for instructions, anticipate your manager's needs and take the initiative to address them. For instance, if you're sitting still while the editor goes through notes, ask if you should be addressing sound notes. Present potential solutions to problems before they escalate, demonstrating your proactive approach and problem-solving skills. For example, if there was a delay in the dailies delivery, let your editor know that you will be behind today and ask your editor if they want you to prioritize any scene in particular. This will show that you're prioritizing their goals. As your superiors see your problem-solving skills they may give you more responsibility or seek out your opinion more often.

  4. Seek Feedback and Act On It: Actively solicit feedback from your manager on your performance and areas for improvement. Demonstrate your willingness to learn and grow by incorporating feedback into your work.

  5. Build Trust Through Reliability: Consistently deliver high-quality work on time and within scope. Reliability is key to building trust and credibility with your manager.

  6. Be a Team Player: Collaborate effectively with your colleagues and support your manager's initiatives. Show that you're committed to the team's success and willing to go above and beyond to achieve shared goals.


Mastering the art of managing up is a valuable skill that can propel your career forward and foster a positive work environment. By understanding your manager's perspective, communicating effectively, and proactively anticipating needs, you can build a strong rapport with your superiors and position yourself for success. Embrace the principles of managing up, and watch as your career flourishes.


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