Communicating with Your Manager (5 min)

Communicating with Your Manager

When working remotely, it is important to pay attention to cultivating good two-way communication with your manager. They need to know that you will keep them informed and reach out for what you need, but not drive them crazy with multiple messages across multiple channels or go off the radar completely and miss your deadline.

Here are some ideas for finding the balance and setting a good communication pattern with your manager when working virtually:

Create some ground rules together

Take some time to agree on a few ground rules for how you will work together. These might include turn-around or response times, which technology or file-sharing platform you will use, communication etiquette and expectations, and how regularly you will meet virtually or face to face. When everyone is clear and in agreement on these kinds of expectations from the start, you will have fewer chances for frustration or misunderstanding developing around communication.

Communicate about progress and achievements

Having an awareness of how team members are contributing to a project helps to build trust. Make sure to keep your manager up to date with your progress and achievements. You might consider using progress-tracking software or apps like Trello or Asana. This allows everyone on the team to see what each other is up to and have a sense of the overall workflow, which is both motivating and helps to build accountability.

Be independent but not remote

Let your manager know that if you have a problem, you will reach out to them – but not without trying to solve the challenge by yourself first. If you need some information, have a hunt around for it first before contacting your manager about it. Remember they have several people coming to them with queries. In a physical office, you wouldn’t run to your manager’s office to ask them for some sales numbers saved in a document on your intranet. It is all too easy to fire off an email without thinking about it when you aren’t able to see the virtual queue of other people who are bringing questions and requests to your manager. They will appreciate your independence. At the same time, don’t try to go it alone to the extent that you make costly mistakes. Your manager needs to know they can trust you to ask important questions at critical junctures.