Career Strategy: 88% of professionals say “managing up” means career success

Ladders latest research study reveals that 88% of high-earning professionals surveyed say that “managing up” means career success, with 81% stating that it’s important for getting pay raises and 86% stating that it leads to promotion. So what exactly is “managing up”? 

New York, NY, March 9, 2020 – Newly released research from Ladders reveals that 79% of professionals surveyed stated that requesting and providing feedback is the most effective method of managing up — a skill that demands the best from your manager, for the sake of your company and your career. Despite these high numbers, only 74% confirmed feeling confident of their ability to manage up.

Compounding that, a mere 41% of respondents stated that they receive actionable, performance-enhancing feedback from their current manager, with only 34% saying that their manager has had a meaningful discussion about their career development in the last six months.

Fifty-eight percent stated that their manager regularly shares relevant information from higher management, while only 49% said that they meet with their boss for 1-on-1 meetings either weekly or monthly. 

 Ladders professionals responded to our “choose all that apply” and “agree/disagree” questions as follows:

“Managing up is important for my career success:”

Strongly agree 44%
Agree 44%
Neutral 11%
Disagree 0%
Strongly disagree 1%

“Managing up is important for getting raises in pay:”

Strongly agree 35%
Agree 46%
Neutral 16%
Disagree 2%
Strongly disagree 1%

“Managing up is important for getting promoted:”

Strongly agree 40%
Agree 46%
Neutral 10%
Disagree 3%
Strongly disagree 1%

“The most effective method for managing up is:”

Request and receive feedback, and provide feedback 79%
Follow clear communications 44%
Do whatever your boss says 8%
Give your manager flattery and praise 3%
Other 13%

“I am confident of my abilities in managing up:”

Strongly agree 31%
Agree 43%
Neutral 20%
Disagree 5%
Strongly disagree 1%

“I meet with my boss for a 1-on-1:”

Weekly 33%
Monthly 16%
Every two weeks 15%
A few times a year 13%
More than once per week 13%
Never 7%
Annually 3%

“My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance:”

Strongly agree 13%
Agree 28%
Neutral 32%
Disagree 15%
Strongly disagree 12%

“My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders:”

Strongly agree 27%
Agree 31%
Neutral 19%
Disagree 13%
Strongly disagree 10%

“My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the last six months:”

Strongly agree 12%
Agree 22%
Neutral 23%
Disagree 14%
Strongly disagree 29%

“I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager:”

Strongly agree 21%
Agree 28%
Neutral 22%
Disagree 11%
Strongly disagree 18%




This research study was conducted from October 20th to October 27th, 2019 by Ladders Inc., among the members of the Ladders professional community. 1,233 responses were recorded. Gender distribution was 75% male, 25% female. The average annual compensation of respondents was $148,000.