*This article was originally published on Forbes on October 16, 2020.
When was the last time you saw your boss? Gone are the days of stopping by your manager’s office or catching up in the breakroom or at the company happy hour. In a remote work environment, out of sight can easily become out of mind.
Don’t let that happen to you. Here are four strategies to get and keep your boss’ attention and strengthen your relationship.
Strategy #1: Stay Visible
To get your boss’ attention, Neen James, attention expert and keynote speaker, suggests that you “be your own internal publicist. Every Friday send your manager a list of five bullet points describing your achievements for the week.” Once a month summarize your accomplishments and how they supported or enabled the obtainment of any, all or some of your team’s and company’s goals.
If there is an option to go to the office and you feel safe, Tom Gimbel CEO of LaSalle Network, suggests that you go. “It shows a desire to be a part of the company and the team. There is a subconscious bias toward the people you see often. It is hard to stay in touch with people you don’t see on a regular basis, like your friends from high school.”
Ensure your work and results maintain your visibility, even when you are not in the office.
Strategy #2: Ask For Feedback
“Your productivity and results are determined by your boss,” Gimbel says. Real-time, specific feedback is one of the most effective ways to ensure your work aligns with your manager’s expectations.
However, asking for feedback is hard. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, your position in the company, nor how skilled you are. It’s scary. We all sweat when we solicit and receive feedback. Nevertheless, feedback is one of the most powerful methods you have to create more positive, affirmative, successful work experiences.
To ask for feedback, use my S.E.E. feedback.
- Be specific. Ask for the specific type of feedback that you want to receive.
- Share an example. Provide an example of the type of feedback you want to receive.
- Explain. Ask the person you requested feedback from to explain what you did or did not do.
There are two additional things to do when you ask for feedback:
- Ask for feedback often. The more frequently you ask, the faster you can change your behavior.
- Ask for feedback immediately. You’ll reduce the time between the event and the feedback you receive so the person’s memory is fresh, and you don’t suffer from revisionist history.
Don’t let your career be damaged by a lack of knowledge or an inaccurate perception of your performance.
#3: Tailor Your Communications to Your Boss’ Work Style Preference
When most of your interactions with your manager are via email and Zoom, it is essential that your message is understood. Tailor your communications to your boss’ work style to avoid misunderstandings.
Your manager’s work style is the way in which they think about, organize, and complete their tasks.
In any office you will find four types of work styles:
- Logical, analytical, and data-oriented
- Organized, plan-focused, and detail-oriented
- Supportive, expressive, and emotionally oriented
- Strategic, integrative, and idea-oriented
To determine the work style of your boss, think about the following questions:
- Does she consistently focus on the project details, timelines and include action steps in her emails to you?
- Does he send emails with only a few words and maintain a laser focus on the team’s goals?
- Does she gesture and use her hands while talking? Or is she more controlled and stoic in her movements?
- Does he glaze over when you discuss project details and divert the conversation to brainstorming new project ideas or the strategic implications of the current project?
- Does she expertly build relationships and know where everyone on the team went on their last vacation?
Once you have identified your manager’s work style, adjust your communication style to their work style preferences.
- Your logical, analytical, and data-oriented boss wants you to focus on data and the facts. Be brief, succinct, clear, and precise. Think through your ideas in advance and present them in a logical format. In your emails, be direct and to the point.
- Your organized, plan-focused, and detail-oriented manager wants you to stay on topic, present your ideas in a sequential, organized manner and provide detailed timelines. In your emails, use bullet points to outline your main points and clearly state next action steps and the due date.
- Your supportive, expressive, and emotionally oriented boss wants the conversation to be informal, open, and warm and have no hidden agenda. They want to know who is involved in projects, and they want team members to have equal consideration when plans are being made. In your emails, include a salutation and connect with them personally before you transition to the topic of the email.
- Your strategic, integrative, and idea-oriented manager wants you to communicate with minimal details, provide the big picture with visuals and metaphors, and articulate how the project aligns with the organization’s strategy. They prefer an overview and broad conceptual framework, so limit the details. In your emails, provide the big picture and context for the email and avoid too many details.
And remember, “you are being measured on your delivery”, Gimbel says. Review all your internal communications with the same rigor you would for external communications. Typos, slang, and incomplete thoughts undercut your brand and credibility.
#4: Elevate Your Virtual Presence
We are past the point in this new world of work where bedhead and wrinkled shirts are professional work attire. It’s time to time to elevate your virtual presence.
- Your boss and colleagues “see” you via video. Mimic the professionals, TV newscasters, and wear solid colors, avoid bold patterns and simplify your hair and makeup.
- Focus on the video camera, not your colleagues’ smiling faces. Direct eye contact is a vital way to reinforce your point and enhances your executive presence. Look directly in the black dot.
- Speak in a strong, clear voice. Use a slightly louder than usual voice because it enhances audibility. Don’t be tempted to use a conversational tone if you are using an external or internal microphone. Maintain a strong, clear voice as if you’re in a large conference room. As a bonus, using a loud voice helps keep you from mumbling and speaking too quickly because of the amount of breaths required.
Ensure your virtual presence accurately represents you.
Work has radically changed. If you’ve been using pre-pandemic strategies to get your boss’ attention and interact, now is the time to rethink how you stay visible, evaluate your performance and effectively communicate in a virtual workplace.
Have a terrible boss? Stay tuned for my next article where I’ll reveal four strategies to surviving a bad boss. Hint: you don’t have to stay and suffer.
Ready to learn more about your Productivity Style and productivity best practices that will work for you? Click here for our Productivity Style Assessment.
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Carson Tate is the founder and managing partner of Working Simply, Inc., a business consulting firm that partners with organizations, business leaders and employees to enhance workplace productivity, foster employee engagement, and build personal and professional legacies.
She is the author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, and just released, Own It. Love It. Make It Work.: How To Make Any Job Your Dream Job. Order your copy HERE! For more information, please visit,www.carsontate.com.