I’m pretty sure that this will come as a shock to most people, but managers- they are people too. This means that they can’t read your mind. They also are unlikely to be unable to guess what you’ve done lately, unless the effects are evident. It may also be that they have a different perspective on how things are going. One simple cure for all of the career ills that can befall you because of these simple human failings is to keep your manager plugged in.
How can you do that? How do you keep your manager plugged in, easily, and without annoying them?
- Blind Copy your manager on emails that have a high risk of becoming volatile.
- Let your manager know each time you’ve completed a major task, or deal, or each time significant changes occur.
- Send your manager weekly status emails. It doesn’t have to be any super formal, but regular updates are good.
- Use a variety of means to communicate, including email, phone, texts, one on one meetings, and dropping by their office. There is no one-size fits all, so keep using different methods, until you find what works for you successfully.
- You can’t substitute for face time with your manager. Thus, you should strive to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour with your manager face-to-face each week, understanding priorities, and going over work items. If you don’t make every week, that’s OK, but at least have it on the schedule to spend some time every week, so that you do get to spend some time together. Your manager likely won’t go to bat for you if they don’t know you, so spend your time wisely, and get to know your manger.
In short, your manager should never be surprised. Make sure that they know what’s going on, and have a clear picture of the environment. Any time you can prevent surprise, and your manager being out of the loop, is a great thing. Make it a career enhancing skill to keep your manager plugged in.