Standing out – virtually

Cartoon of 3-D people in a virtual meetingIf you’re not in the office with your manager, how do you stand out and get noticed?

And if you’re not in the office with your team, how do you know who’s doing what – and how well?

These questions are bouncing around all over the place right now. And I get it. Things have changed, and it feels weird and unnerving.

Are you working your tail off, but your boss isn’t paying attention?

If you’re the boss, how can you tell who is working their tail off, and who’s not?

In all seriousness, I’m a little frustrated by these questions. It really shouldn’t be all that different with remote teams from what it was with co-located teams. If, as a team member or a team leader, you were paying attention and doing good work and making it known before – well, forge onward; that’s what you need to do now.

On the other hand, if you were working hard and doing good work but not letting anyone know? Well, that’s one of the Five Deadly Shoulds of Office Politics that I cover in my book: thinking that because you’re doing well, someone will magically notice.

As I said recently (and also not-so-recently), your career is yours, and it’s your responsibility to make yourself known and visible. Don’t wait for your performance review and expect your manager to “just know” all that you’ve done. Status reports might seem like a painful annoyance, but in reality they’re an opportunity for you to let people know all the good things you’ve done – especially when you can’t bump into them in the hall or by the coffee machine. Don’t be shy about sharing – it’s not arrogance if it’s real, and it’s not boasting if you do it in context.

If you’re the manager, you have a responsibility to understand what your team is up to. Asking for a weekly status report isn’t micromanaging – and if you tell them you want it because it’s how you track their performance, they’ll be happy to send it (and if not, that’s a warning sign, right?).

Go around the team meeting Zoom-room and ask everyone to share one accomplishment from the week. Randomly drop your team a note asking them to tell you about a success, even if it’s a small one. Dedicate a Slack channel to accomplishments. Think up other ways to encourage sharing wins.

As a manager, it’s your job to normalize talking about successes.

Managers need to normalize sharing about success AND employees need to be clear about what they've accomplished. #VirtualRecognition #VirtualLeadershipClick To Tweet

As an employee, it’s your job to make sure your manager (and others; see my book!) knows about your successes.

If you liked this post, you might like What HAVE you done? (References the New Year, but relevant at any time.)

My book, The Five Deadly Shoulds of Office Politics: how they mangle your career (and what to do about it) is on Amazon here