What is one way young nonprofit professionals can effectively manage their manager?

To help young nonprofit professionals with learning how to effectively manage their manager, we asked nonprofit professionals and business leaders this question for their best insights. From prioritizing accountability to reviewing policies and SOPs, there are several ways that may help you manage your manager for continued success in your career. 

Here are eight ways to effectively manage your manager:

  • Prioritizing Accountability 
  • Advocate for Your Needs and Expectations
  • Create Honest Communications
  • Giving Feedback
  • Get to Know Them and Build Trust
  • Provide Consistent Check-Ins
  • Adhere to Deadlines
  • Review Policies and SOPs

Prioritizing Accountability 

Young nonprofit professionals can effectively manage their managers by holding them accountable. Ask questions if a task seems unclear or vague, understanding a task makes it possible for you to perform it well. If there is a project which requires a supervisor’s approval or review, be sure to clarify the need for support, and be sure to follow up. Speak up when there is a situation that bothers you, internalization is not healthy. Also, remember that your manager is human, and may need some grace from you at times, the way you may need that grace from them. Communication is truly key for a good relationship and dynamic with a manager. 

Jasmine Young, Arizona Justice Project


Advocate for Your Needs and Expectations 

Be clear about your needs and expectations. Good managers are willing to support you. Great leaders understand that they are there to serve the team, which includes you! When a problem arises, don’t only bring the issue up to your manager but also the possible solutions and the resources or tools you will need to overcome the challenge. Your manager isn’t a mind-reader, so they don’t know what you need or want until you ask them. 

Jennifer Granillo, Maricopa Corporate College


Create Honest Communication

Being able to have open and honest communication with your supervisor is key. I recognize that it can be difficult depending on your manager and their leadership style, but focus on what you can control and that’s how you choose to communicate and build a relationship with them. The more you work to build a relationship with your manager, the more prepared you will be to have an honest conversation when the inevitable times when you don’t quite agree come along. We’re all unique individuals; it’s natural for disagreements to arise. I would also add that in conversations where you are proposing a new or different way of doing things that you come prepared with data or some other kind of proof to back up your idea. 

Alex Kouumdjieva, Maricopa Corporate College


Giving Feedback 

Regarding working autonomously but also needing input and feedback. I think the best way to manage that is to discuss systems and communications methods. Prioritizing based on short and long-term goals and clear direction and sharing of information that keeps us on the same page is critical. Just finding the most efficient and friendly way to achieve benchmarks that work for both. 

Elise Salomon, The Human Services Campus


Get to Know Them and Build Trust

One way that a young nonprofit professional can effectively manage their manager is to get to know the manager personally and make the effort to be an excellent listener. If they do these things, it will help build trust with their manager, and they will, in turn, be given more responsibilities on the job. 

Shaun Price, MitoQ


Provide Consistent Check-Ins 

One of the things managers complain about the most is when people don’t let them know what’s going on and they feel nervous about whether things will happen on time and to their satisfaction. One of the key ingredients for trust is a pattern of reliability. Take ownership of your end of the situation and create opportunities to establish the perception, in your manager’s mind, that you are reliable, competent, and trustworthy by manufacturing “micro-patterns of reliability”. Instead of only communicating on a need-to-know basis, or only checking in when the final deadline is night, do this: promise and deliver multiple instances that allow you to show up as doing what you said you’ll do. Your boss’ brain will have certainty and you will have demonstrated reliability.

Halelly Azulay, TalentGrow


Adhere to Deadlines

Try to help guide them and stick them to their schedule. Nonprofits are a fast-paced environment with many people running around with different projects. Helping your manager stick to the daily schedule will help you as well with finishing things on time and meeting goals. Timelines are vital in the nonprofit world, so try to help everyone stay on track.

Derin Oyekan, Reel Paper


Review Policies and SOPs

Nonprofit organizations usually have a much more comprehensive understanding of their goals. As entities that not maximize profit but rather the social or environmental impact, they may have many internal procedures and policies unfamiliar to junior employees or volunteers. Being inquisitive about the broader context of specific tasks can help them develop a strong relationship with the manager.

Michael Sena, Senacea



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