How do I stay visible and provide value when I’m working remotely? As more people work from home, I’m hearing a similar concern from many of my coaching clients.
It’s a great question. Not being physically present with your team and senior leaders has its consequences. It means you have to be more intentional about putting yourself out there, promoting your achievements and sharing what your team is doing with the rest of the company.
Some people are naturally good at touting their success and making meaningful connections even from afar. Others go way too far and cross into bragging and grandstanding. Sensitive Strivers, however, could always use a little help gaining the respect and opportunities they deserve. Even more so when they are working from home and feeling disconnected from the rest of the company.
That’s because when you feel insecure about your value, it leads to a whole host of negative outcomes. For example, you may beat yourself up and fall into feelings of imposter syndrome. Or you may overcompensate and overwork yourself to the point of burnout.
You don’t have to prove your worth by working more. You just have to focus on socializing your results the right way — for maximum impact — in a way that feels authentic to your sensitive nature.
You might prefer to keep a low profile while working from home, but it’s really in your best interest to increase your visibility as much as possible. Here’s why:
One lure of working from home that is especially appealing for introverted Sensitive Strivers is not having to see co-workers throughout the day, but that can quickly backfire. A few audio-only meetings here and there is fine, but you should opt for video meetings where possible. Otherwise, it’s out of sight, out of mind.
You can leverage video in another way by making short recordings of projects your team is working on and sharing them with others. I like the free tool Loom for this. One of my clients used this strategy with great success. He was a very introverted engineering lead who disliked presenting to big groups. So he filmed short videos of projects his team was working on and circulated them among senior leadership. It went a long way in raising the visibility of his team and his credibility as a leader.
I know that no one wants more meetings, but when you’re working remotely, over-communicating is essential. That goes doubly if you collaborate with others across your organization. Coordinate regularly to touch bases with other departments you work with. You can use the time for brainstorming, as a working session, or simply to get on the same page.
Explicitly acknowledge your team for their good work during meetings, in emails and over chat. A small word of praise not only goes a long way to boost morale, but it shows other internal stakeholders what your team is accomplishing. You can also share stories about how your team solved problems or overcame certain roadblocks. Doing so puts your leadership on display and positions your team as high-performing, while also providing useful tips and information to others.
Don’t be afraid to share your own accomplishments, either. It doesn’t make you look like a braggart. Keep the emphasis on the effort you put in and connect it to how this success impacts others or makes their jobs easier.
Take the time to put together a team charter that you can distribute to others. This should include your team’s purpose, members and their roles. Most importantly, your charter should outline what type of tasks are within your scope. Listing out requests and questions you can help with will show how you provide value to the rest of the organization.
Put together a report each Friday reporting on your or your team’s progress and send it to managers and seniors leaders. This shouldn’t just be a laundry list of tasks. Rather, frame it in terms of accomplishments and results.
You don’t get what you don’t ask for, so make an explicit appeal to your boss, soliciting their support. Mention that raising your visibility is an important goal for you (and outline why it’s important for the team). Discuss how they can play a part in socializing your team’s accomplishments among other departments and higher-ups.
Likewise, ask your manager if there are meetings they’d like you to sit in on or take over. This can be a great opportunity to raise your profile and expose yourself to stakeholders or projects that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Plus, you’re doing your boss a solid by taking work off their plate.
Every week, set a goal to connect with a few colleagues. These should be “soft touches”, i.e. asking how they are doing, how you can support them or sending them a helpful resource.
Let others know, through your actions, that they can count on you. Make yourself available for impromptu meetings and chats. Just don’t go overboard and neglect all boundaries.
A version of this article was originally published by Melody Wilding.
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