In a post-Covid world, many of us are still working remotely, or have adopted a hybrid working model. But managing a team in this dynamic can be tricky – it may be more difficult to get to know your team members, or get involved in new projects. So how do you improve your visibility as a leader when working from home?
It’s been a few years since so many of us started working from home a lot more – you’d think by now we’d have normalised it and it would be really easy. But virtual working is hard, and in its current form, it’s always going to make social interaction, and things like visibility, more difficult. Here’s what I recommend:
Stay in touch:
The key to solving this problem is to make it concrete. Rather than the general worry that you’re not visible to the right people, start an Excel spreadsheet with the names of the 10 – 20 people you want to be visible to down the left. Then, each week (or day, or month, depending on how frequently you are typically in touch), aim to carry out a certain number of actions to increase your visibility. These could be speaking up in a meeting they’re in; sending them an email or a Teams message or a WhatsApp to say hi; sharing useful information; making a beeline for them at company events; or scheduling 30-minute catch-ups with them on a semi-regular basis. All these small, tangible actions will add up to make a big difference.
State your want:
By being in touch with people, you are more likely to be front and centre of their minds when new projects come up. It’s also critical to say what you’re interested in to the people who are in control. It can be very tempting to think that we are making it exceptionally obvious that we want to do the work that we see as juicy, but (1) someone else’s perceptions of what’s a good project may be different to yours and (2) we have a habit of being more subtle than we intend. And, when we are communicating remotely, it’s much more likely that our wants and needs are lost in the noise of the day. You need to signal it clearly, and follow up in at least one other medium. So, if you’ve stated your wants in an email, make sure you mention it on a call. Or, if you said it on a video call, add it to your Teams chat with your manager.
Share your successes:
My final recommendation is to draw people’s attention to the work that you’re doing, and in particular your successes. Again, another sad truth of being remote is that there’s less likelihood someone hears you celebrate an achievement, or witnesses you receiving praise for doing something great. It’s easier for it to slip from the mind and not to be noted. So if you’ve done something great, find a way to share it. Three possibilities for this are: (1) suggest a monthly round-up in your meetings with the other managers where you each say something good that’s happened that month, (2) send an update message to the team to make them aware of your success and any impacts it’s going to have on the team, or (3) make it emotional and personal by framing it as a message of unbridled excitement – I am so thrilled about this, I just had to share it! I hope that’s OK. Remember if you’re talking about your successes, give credit to others where it’s due, make it factual, and keep it brief. All of these techniques will stop you sounding as though you’re bragging.
Three resources to help you increase your visibility:
- Increasing visibility (not just in remote working):
- Why remote visibility shouldn’t be synonymous with cameras on:
- And use your new-found visibility to ask for more meaningful work:
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