Managing Up – Interactions with Stakeholders and Boards

by | Nov 16, 2023 | News & Insights

Recent global events, including the pandemic, labor market changes, and social unrest, have heightened the importance of stakeholder engagement emphasizing a more inclusive approach to creating shareholder value. The board of directors plays a crucial role in improving stakeholder engagement by setting the company’s mission and long-term goals. As interim, you should collaborate with the Board to establish a tone from the top, provide frameworks, and oversee performance aligned with the company’s objectives.

Interactions with stakeholders and boards can often feel like navigating a minefield. It’s about striking the right balance – acknowledging their authority, while maintaining your autonomy. Here’s a 6-step guide to help you navigate this terrain.

  1. 🧠 Understand their interests. Do they prioritize financial stability, innovation, or perhaps growth? It’s not just about a clear understanding of your mandate, but rather of the strategic objectives behind it.  You are in a unique position soaking in the perspectives of both the board and stakeholders. Use it to your advantage.
  2. Choose the right communication channels, as well as the frequency. Options include phone, emails, meetings, or social media depending on their effectiveness. Stakeholders and Board members value reliable information and consistent updates throughout the project.
  3. 🏃‍♂️Be proactive. Take initiative and propose solutions. Show them that you are not only focusing on the current situation, but also forward-thinking. Addressing potential issues before they become problems helps not only building trust, but also in making informed decisions. 
  4. Involve and empower stakeholders in decision-making and implementation processes. Seek their input and feedback to increase engagement and ensure continue collaboration.
  5. Maintain self-control. As interim manager, you are usually exposed to high-pressure situations. Remain calm and professional no matter the situation.
  6. 📝 Evaluate your results and adapt strategies accordingly. Continuously assess the impact of your interactions. Collect and analyze data though surveys, interviews or analytics to improve your performance in future projects.

Managing up is about building relations based on trust and respect. Remember to approach your stakeholder and board members interactions with empathy, understanding their goals and timelines and follow our tips to strengthen your relations overtime.