Want to learn how managing up works in real life?
In follow-up to our previous post on managing up, we’d like to share a handful of our favorite managing up stories from the real nanny world.
Sandra* was a veteran nanny who had been with her current employer for quite some time. She loved working with the immediate family, but some members of the extended family were proving challenging. In particular, a great aunt was not very pleasant to be around and, to make things more complicated, this particular aunt held a great deal of power in the family. Of concern, she had been a factor in previous nannies leaving their employment in the past. Sandra was familiar with this history and thus, was able to manage an upcoming visit from the great aunt successfully. She offered to help her employer prepare for the great aunt’s visit by suggesting was to make the visit more pleasant for this important member of the family and, by extension, remove some of the stress the visit was causing everyone, not just her! When the great aunt arrived, she was surprised (in a good way) to have her needs anticipated and met so thoroughly. As a result, everyone was more at ease, the employer was appreciative of Sandra’s help and Sandra gained a little ground in the great aunt’s estimation.
This is one of our favorite nanny stories because it demonstrates so well how managing up is anticipatory and helpful. Here’s a step-by-step look at how this happened:
- Sandra identified a challenge to her employment presented by her relationship with the great aunt.
- Next, she recognized a historical pattern of problems between the great aunt and previous nannies.
- She also recognized the added stress the great aunt’s visit placed on her employer and surmised that the visit was also stressful to the great aunt.
- She brainstormed a way to meet the challenge of her own relationship with the great aunt while also alleviating the stress placed on her employer and the anxiety faced by the great aunt.
- The result: Three happy parties—nanny, employer and great aunt.
Cheyenne* was a relatively “green” nanny, with just a few years of nannying experience. Her employer was likewise inexperienced, having never hired a nanny before. The family had decided to hire a nanny for its childcare needs because of a hectic travel schedule, both with and without the children. Cheyenne was asked to help prepare for an upcoming trip involving both the children but was given little guidance. Cheyenne recognized that she was a bit out of her comfort zone so she did some research and identified an “app” for sharing a to-do list with her employer which she proposed to her employer. This allowed them to keep track of everything that needed to be done. The trip went well, in large part because of the advance planning and organization that Cheyenne had helped facilitate.
This is another great example of how a simple suggestion, “there’s an app for that,” led to smooth communication and a positive result. Here’s a more detailed analysis:
- Cheyenne recognized a challenge: She didn’t feel confident in meeting the needs of her employer in getting the children ready for a trip.
- She researched and identified a potential solution to address her inexperience.
- She proposed the solution to her employer and got buy-in.
- The result: A successful trip and happy employer!
*All names have been changed for privacy.
About the Author: Helen Adeosun is passionate about children. As a former high school 9th grade English teacher, she was excited about ways to drive learning in her classroom and how to better serve her students. CareAcademy was born out of her own experience as a nanny and she hopes that careacademy.co is a place to continuously learn and share with current and future nannies. The year before starting CareAcademy she was hired by a wonderful family that had two children with special needs who taught her so much. Helen holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an EdM. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.