Keep 3 Things Top of Mind with Your Manager

The last thing that you want is to be “out of sight, out of mind” with your manager. You instead need to make sure that they know 3 important things that you have done lately. I can’t overemphasize how important this is to you, your future, and the future of your team.

Your manager has a lot on their plate. They want you to do your job, and as much as possible, take care of any challenges or issues that come up along the way. They need you to execute on your goals and responsibilities in order for them to do the same.

If you want to grow and take on new and larger challenges, doing your job is not enough. You need to do this and more. You need to have the support of your manager when new opportunities come up. The best way to do this is to ensure that your manager is fully aware that you are executing well and to make sure that they are aware of a hand full of additional things that you have done which go above and beyond.

What You Will Learn…

  1. Why you need three things at the top of your manager’s mind
  2. How to best communicate them
  3. The importance of expanding this to other leaders

3 Important Things

You need to make sure that your manager, off the top of their head, can come up with at least three things that you have done that are above and beyond just doing your job. The list will look different depending on your role, but all share some characteristics.

  • It can be something that your team did that is substantial. Making a release, solving a major customer issue, making a major process improvement, or helping to close a deal are all things that fit here.
  • It can be something unique or innovative. You will have to be a bit careful here to ensure that you delivered what was expected. If you did not, do not share something that you accomplished that was new and interesting, while you missed delivery of what was expected. Assuming this was not the case, new innovative items will get you a lot of visibility and credit!
  • It can be something that your manager’s manager, or anyone up the management chain, really cares about. You will again have to be careful to have delivered on what was expected, but assuming that was the case – delivering something to help someone up the management chain will look good for you as well as your manager!
  • It can be something unexpected, unplanned, above and beyond the job. This would be something like an additional feature in a product. Again, make sure you have done the basics before sharing this!

Be careful in considering something to be above and beyond. It is often the case that managers know how hard it is to just do the job and will consider execution or achieving a milestone as going above and beyond. You will have to be the judge of this. My recommendation is to put yourself in your manager’s shoes and ask the question – “Is this just a part of the job?”  If so, then it is likely not a good candidate.

As you think about how to do this – you might be surprised that it is really not that hard to identify 3 important things that you and your team have accomplished that are above and beyond. If you have a solid executing team, they will find ways to overachieve. You really just have to watch, talk to your team, and make it a priority to share in the team’s successes.

How to Share without Bragging

I don’t know how many times I have heard things like – “I don’t like tooting my own horn,” or “I don’t like to brag.” Or even that “It just isn’t me to make a big deal out of doing what we are supposed to do.”

As the manager, you need to get over this. It is a part of your job to share your team’s accomplishments. It is your job to keep your manager informed and to ensure that they recognize the great work that your team is doing.

What can be a bit challenging is finding the right time, place, and approach to sharing the things that you and your team have accomplished. Here is how I like to think about it.

  • Operational accomplishments – the things that are your job, should be communicated in your 1:1 or through a status report.
    • If there are any issues with you and your team’s execution, make sure your manager knows how you are going to address this.
    • These are likely not the kinds of things that you need at the top of your manager’s mind.
  • Above and beyond accomplishments – the things that you have done that you want to be top of your manager’s mind should be communicated when they happen. Don’t wait until a future meeting to share..
    • If your manager likes text messages (or similar), then use this same approach to sharing these accomplishments. If they prefer email, then use that. If they need to hear it directly, use your 1:1 or call them and ask for a few minutes.
    • Start the conversation by mentioning that – in addition to executing to the plan, your team was able to do something pretty cool.
    • When you describe what it is that you and your team accomplished, make sure that you put it into the right context so that it resonates. If it is related to improving the customer experience, start here. If it is to generate more revenue, start there instead. The point is to tie it to something that matters to your manager!
  • The exception – if you have already shared 3 above and beyond accomplishments, keep the others in your back pocket and share them later.
    • These kinds of accomplishments often come in batches. You might need to spread them out so that there are always 3 that are top of mind for your manager.

Example: The Way I Do It

You will need to refresh the list of above-and-beyond accomplishments on a regular basis. Having been a manager for a long time, I am excited when my team does something interesting and unexpected. Something that is above and beyond what I expected. But that excitement wears off quickly. You will need to make sure that you provide new accomplishments on a roughly quarterly basis to stay fresh in your manager’s mind.

Consider Doing the Same with Other Leaders

It is valuable to extend this model beyond your manager to other leaders in your company. They too can help with your career by supporting you and providing new opportunities. This is especially true for leaders in your management chain. They are most likely to understand what you do, what it means to execute, and when you accomplish things that are above and beyond.

As a result, you should think about how you can share your progress and accomplishments with them. You will most likely not have regular 1:1s, so you will have to look for other approaches. I have found that the best way is to build a relationship with them that is separate from your sharing your accomplishments. Talk to them about what they are trying to accomplish and how you can help. Let them know a bit about what you are focused on and ask for advice. Begin to gradually share your own progress – putting it into the context of what you have previously discussed with them.

It is best to find a good balance between in-person and email interactions. As a very simple rule of thumb, consider 3-5 email interactions to every 1 in-person interaction. As you build this relationship, it will get easier to share more of what you are doing and they will have the context to understand the value that you bring.

Wrapping It All Up

It is important as a manager to make sure that your manager knows, off the top of their head, at least 3 important things that you have done lately that are above and beyond doing your job. By doing this it will ensure that you and your team have the support that you need and are being considered for new opportunities.

This is especially important for remote managers. It is easy to be out of sight, out of mind. As a result, you will need to be active in ensuring that they know about the operational work that you are doing, and more importantly, what you have done that is above and beyond.

See Also

Do Not Surprise Your Manager – Especially In Public

How to Manage Your Manager

Categories: Communication


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *