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Communicate What You are Doing

I've seen various studies during the pandemic of trust between managers and employees. Some say it is going up, others say it is going down. This is one of those classic situations

where the correct answer is that it is doing both. Not surprisingly, it all depends on how the manager reacted and continues to react during the pandemic.

When in person, managers have the ability to do the "drop by". This is where they drop by your desk to say hi and casually ask how a project is going. It gives the manager peace of mind that work is really being done as well as a status update. This is in addition to the daily or weekly status update meetings that most managers have.

As much as the employee wants "trust" that the work will be done, the manager has a need and a purpose for knowing how things are going.

If you really want your manager to trust you, tell her things before she asks. This will be especially important as we shift to the hybrid work environment of the future.

Whenever I get a new manager, I ask about how they want me to report status updates to them. If they don't have anything particular in mind, I tell them that I do a 3 topic report every Friday for myself and I would be happy to send it to them. They almost always agree.

The 3 topics are:

  • What did I get done last week?

  • What am I planning on doing next week?

  • Interesting data or issues.

I try to be specific in these items. I don't say for next week I will "work on project X". I refer to a specific task, such as "complete the initial draft of the PowerPoint deck for Project X and send out for review".

Some managers ask me to add a status rating (Green, Yellow, Red) so they can see things more clearly.

It is simple, easy, and a great way to demonstrate your accomplishments to your manager. Once you do this a few times, managers start to realize you are trustworthy and look forward to getting the information.

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