How Your Manager Likes Communication

A key part to managing up is to understand how your boss learns best. Consider it learning her communication language.


Once you learn this language, you should tailor your message to her style. It will make you a more effective communicator and make life easier for your manager. The side benefit is that your manager sees you in a more positive light.

It takes some time to learn because it has to be done through observation and testing. You could ask your manager, but it is rare that someone truly understands and can explain their communication language. So how do you do it?

  • Pay attention to what types of arguments convince your manager. Are they heavily focused on stats/data or are they more story oriented? Does your manager like the conversation to get straight to the point or build up to the main point?

  • How does your manager like to receive information? Does she prefer hearing or reading information from you? Or some combination?

  • How does your manager make decisions? Does he take time and get back to you or does he make them very quickly?

Once you learn his specific communication style, you can tailor your communication to that. It is no different than a speaker who tailors a talk to a specific audience. This makes you more effective and draws praise from your manager.