Is Your Boss Tracking Your Every Move? Learn How to Share What You Have Accomplished
July 14, 2020

Is Your Boss Tracking Your Every Move? Learn How to Share What You Have Accomplished

by Brian de Haaff

Does it feel like your boss is paying closer attention than normal? A pandemic can lead to paranoia. With many organizations embracing remote work for the first time, people are juggling professional duties with full households. So company leaders are experimenting with new ways to make sure work is getting done. This usually culminates in managers checking in on folks a bit more often.

Even if the intentions are good, increased attentiveness from your boss can make you feel anxious.

I have written before that I believe most people want to do good work for its own sake. If you are intrinsically motivated to do your best, then you naturally reach for accomplishment each day. But if you feel like you are being closely watched, you probably feel something else too — a need to demonstrate to your boss how productive you really are.

This pressure can lead to unnatural behavior. Maybe you over-communicate minor progress updates to your boss. Or perhaps you are extra eager to pick up any task to show you are valuable and available. For people who are working remotely for the first time — particularly now, as job security is top-of-mind — the instinct to self-preserve can outweigh common sense. And when you are trying extra hard to show you are productive, any criticism stings more than usual.

You want to show your expertise and how you are delivering value — which requires proactive proof.

Sure, your boss is hovering. But that does not mean that your boss is a jerk who does not trust or believe in your abilities. Most people are trying to do their best and adjusting to working in an entirely new way. Instead of fretting over why you are under the microscope, show what you have achieved and what you plan to do next. This will help you develop a healthy relationship built on trust and transparency so you can get back to doing what you do well. Here is how:

Every company has goals — even if those success signs are nebulous or not shared widely. You may only know the metrics for your team versus the overall organization. Regardless, you need to show how your work supports business objectives. When you are prioritizing projects or activities, take note of what the associated goal might be. Then when your boss checks in, you can quickly show how your effort is contributing to the broader business.

Focus on achievement

Busy work is a waste of time. Define what you plan to accomplish — not hours worked or meaningless tasks. Outputs can be tangible deliverables or key milestones in workflows. If you find yourself spending too much time on busy work that prevents progress on those real outputs, speak up and let your boss know before they start poking around.

Share updates

Even if it feels bad, your boss is hovering for a good reason. So show how your work is progressing — without waiting to be asked. Choose a format that allows your boss to access and easily view. You might even create weekly reports that are easy for your boss to digest at a glance.

Make meetings work

Provide updates about your work during regularly scheduled meetings with your boss. Come to these meetings prepared with a list of open items to discuss. Agendas keep meetings structured and productive and show that you are eager to discuss your work and keep things moving.

Be open

Transparency signals to your boss that you are trustworthy and invested in doing the right thing. Be honest about roadblocks that may be preventing your success. Rather than hibernating to chew on a hard project — ask for help. Your sincerity will show through.

When you take accountability and proactively share your progress, you will find that there is no need to hide.

Remote work is not going away any time soon. Now is a great time to demonstrate that you are just as productive remotely as you were in the office. Instead of looking at your boss's inquiries as an inquest — look at it as an opportunity to deepen relationships and improve how you work.

How do you define productivity?

Our team is happy, productive, and hiring — join us!

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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