How to convince Senior Management

In this blog, I will provide few simple steps that you can follow to convince senior management for getting decisions and alignment faster.

Srihari Udugani
5 min readJan 24, 2024
Photo by TienDat Nguyen on Unsplash

Many new managers struggle to work with senior management.

I feel the reason could be that they don’t understand what senior management needs or there is no defined communication channel between them.

This scenario is not new and has been around for decades.

New Managers should understand that you will succeed only if both, your team and senior management are confident about your management.

So there is a need to put effort to build trust with senior management in the same way as with your team members.

In this blog, I will provide few pointers to make the relationship with senior management better.

The situation

Many manager who were in individual contributor role move to management. When in individual contributor role the interactions with senior management will be different.

The discussion is more related to technical and approaches used. When the same person moves to management role, the expectation from senior management changes drastically.

It is no more about just technical, the discussion will also include on how things will be done end-to-end; how the decisions are made and under what assumptions and risks.

One of the misalignment will be on the details. The amount of details that senior managers need to make a decision or guide will vary from person to person. So as a new manager, if you dump lot of information, the senior manager might just get confused.

Another misalignment will be on their expectation. If you are not clear, then you will keep doing something which does not align with senior management and in-turn you will end up struggling to work with them.

There are some senior managers who are not well trained or they are also in transition from middle management to senior management. In this case there will be gaps in their communication, which could also cause difficulty in working with them.

Steps to make relationship better

The main reasons behind the gap between a manager and senior management will come down to,
▪ how the information is flowing between them,
▪ an fair understanding of senior manager’s style of working,
▪ a fair understanding of expectations from senior management.

As a manager, if you are able to sort out the above areas and agree on the handshake methodology between you and the senior management, then it will lead better transparency and in-turn results.

So here are 4 steps that you can take as a manager.

Step#1: Management style
Every senior manager has a management style. It is important to understand what it is.

You don’t have to understand every senior manager’s style, it is sometime enough to understand your supervisor’s management style.

With this understanding, curate your management style to build trust and transparency with your supervisor in the same way you would do it with your team members.

Generally senior managers want to be either completely hands-off or completely hands-on or want to get involved partially on the operations of your team. Based on their style you can then decide how much information exchange you want to do and how often you want to engage them for support.

Step#2: Communication channel
At least between you and the supervisor, there must be a clearly defined communication channel.

The communication channel could be in the form of chat tools, emails or 1on1 meetings or weekly reports or a combination of these.

Without a proper communication channel there will not be enough information flowing between you and senior management. This will impact trust and transparency.

By agreeing on the communication channel and the cadence, there will be constant flow of information and you will be able to decide the amount of details to be shared.

Example, if your communication channel is a combination of weekly reports plus 1on1 meeting, then the weekly report can have all the details and in 1on1 the focus area of discussion could be limited to risks and delays.

Step#3: Goals
Sometimes there will be always a confusion on the goals between managers and senior managers. This could be because the goals are never discussed explicitly.

The yearly feedback is so diluted, it is difficult to understand whether one has made any progress or added any value.

So, one of my suggestion is to discuss about the goals for the team that you are managing from the point of view of your supervisor. This will make things clearer.

One thing to keep in mind is to discuss about both short and long term goals and if possible the priorities of each of the goals. This way you can focus on those goals which are higher priority.

Step#4: Processes
The process changes that you want to make should be discussed with senior management first.

By discussing the process changes with senior management will get you a second opinion on your thoughts and gaps in the process if any.

For the communication channel, it is important to discuss on templates, folder structure etc. to share information. This is to make sure they can find the details easily.

By agreeing on things like templates to share information will make sure they are not confused every time when you send out an update. This will in-turn make sure they will understand the situation clearly and they will help you with the required support.

Final thoughts

The above information may sound like you are doing the heavy lifting of clarifying many things. It is not, treat this as if you are trying to clarify certain things.

Sometime you and your supervisor would be working with an assumption. It is important to clarify the assumptions and clear out any confusion.

By doing the 4-steps mentioned in this blog, will help you to improve your relationship with your supervisor and other members of senior management.

When your relationship becomes better, there will be improvement in getting their support, faster decisions and reduced frustrations. This in-turn helps you also to grow in the management ladder.

Happy management!

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Further reading



Srihari Udugani

Knowledge Made Simple and Structured, Decisions Made Clear. Happy success!