By Jackie Mordue, Regional Managing Director at Hays
Having potentially not seen your colleagues in person for months, feeling ‘visible’ at work might be a challenge many are currently facing, particularly as an introvert.
Even for those who have continued to go into work over the last few months, it’s undeniable that the world of work has undergone seismic change which has posed challenges for professionals trying to get noticed. Findings from over 16,000 respondents in the Hays Market Insights report revealed that two in five (40%) say that communication is the aspect of their organisation that has undergone the most change since the coronavirus outbreak and, worryingly, over a third (34%) say the amount of contact they now have with their manager is less than before lockdown was enforced.
Does this ring true for you?
So, as an introvert, what can you do to keep yourself ‘visible’ among your managers and colleagues, despite being in an unrecognisable world of work and potentially facing barriers to communication?
Step one: start with your manager
Although they should already have oversight of your tasks and responsibilities, putting a few small things in place with your manager will help them have greater visibility of your achievements. Here are some things to try:
- Make some diary changes: How often do you actually communicate with your manager? If you don’t already, try having weekly phone calls, a chat over Slack or Microsoft Teams, and an email report of your KPIs each fortnight. This regular communication ensures your manager notices more than just your day-to-day tasks.
- Always ask for feedback: Ensure that you ask for feedback whenever you are working with your manager, as this provides them with the opportunity to acknowledge your efforts and helps you maximise opportunities for growth.
- Take ownership: Expressing an interest to your manager in new opportunities means they’re more likely to think of you first when these arise. When capacity allows, offer to own projects or lead your team through a new piece of work.
- Let them know your availability: Being clear with your manager about when you are available and when you plan to log off for the day or take your lunch break goes a long way to building credibility and trust, and will continue to be hugely important as we transition into more agile ways of working.
- Share your success: Your manager will want to see your successes, so don’t be afraid to share these moments when they arise. It’s fine to send a casual instant message rather than an email, and perhaps frame your achievement by saying “thank you for your support with this” to acknowledge the role that they might have played.
Step two: speak up within your team
While it’s certainly rewarding to have more recognition from your manager, there are probably other people who you work with who you might want to be more visible to.
Some of the best moments for this happen in meetings, which for many of us are held virtually at present. It can be challenging to find your voice over a disjointed video stream or patchy audio quality – especially if you’re often one of the quieter voices in the room, or consider yourself to be quite introverted. But there’s no reason why you can’t still get your voice out there, so consider the following:
- What’s your value?
Do you have insight or information which is pivotal to the topic of discussion? Making a note of this beforehand will help you better see opportunities to bring this up.
- How can you make relevant contributions?
If you are raising a new topic or asking a question, briefly reiterate what the person before you said. Not only does this help the flow of the meeting but gives your comment relevance.
- How can you stay on track?
If you find your mind wandering during a meeting, don’t be afraid to ask a question to help get your focus back. You could say: “I’m sorry, I slightly lost track. Please could we take a step back…”. This will probably help others on the call too.
- Have you maximised the time with your colleagues?
Chatting outside of the agenda of the meeting can help you build rapport with others and put your name out there, so make time before and/or after the meeting to chat with those present – whether it’s catching up about your weekend or digesting some of the nitty gritty of the meeting itself.
Step three: look to your broader network
Finally, think about how you can boost your visibility in your wider network. Although most of how we used to network now isn’t possible, there are plenty of virtual events happening where you can connect to your professional peers. Have you tried any of the following?
- Virtual coffee mornings and lunch dates – perfect for catching up with colleagues, mentors, clients and customers who you have a good relationship with.
- Webinars and virtual industry events – the place to learn from industry experts and connect with likeminded professionals in your field.
- Social media – where you can follow leaders, interact with professionals in different groups and profile your own thoughts and work.
- Volunteering – an opportunity to meet new people and potentially expand your network in ways which align with your passion.
Once you dip your toe in the water you may be surprised just how many virtual opportunities there are around you. If you do feel more introverted, making yourself more visible in a virtual sense can be a great way to build your confidence.
About the author
Jackie is Regional Managing Director for the Yorkshire & the North region of Hays, operationally responsible for 15 offices in the region. Jackie joined Hays in 1991 working in Hays Accountancy & Finance, before then working in Hays Office Support. Jackie then progressed to the role of Regional Director before becoming Director of Yorkshire and Newcastle in 2011. Jackie was appointed as Managing Director of Hays Yorkshire & the North East in 2018.
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