For many of us, particularly women, it can feel more comfortable to let our results speak for themselves rather than sharing our accomplishments directly. This can backfire in the best of circumstances, but is particularly risky now. How do you stay visible without anyone around to observe all of the hard work you’re putting in?
Good news! Just because you’re working from home, it doesn’t mean your contributions have to go unnoticed.
These 8 tips will help you stay top-of-mind while working remotely:
1. Meet face-to-virtual-face whenever possible. An estimated 55% of your message is communicated visually through your body language. Speaking over the phone or disabling your camera during group meetings may feel more comfortable, particularly at a time when most of us are working from home and may have kids or other family members there with us. However, to enhance your leadership presence and maximize your ability to communicate effectively, make sure your camera is on for meetings whenever possible.
2. Dress the part. Would you show up at your office for a meeting wearing yoga pants and a messy bun? Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you should present yourself any differently. Continue to dress in a professional manner that is representative of the way you’d like to be perceived by your managers and colleagues.
3. Speak up during meetings. Showing up and looking the part is a great start, but to make a lasting impression, you need to be heard. Set a goal to contribute at least once during the first 15 minutes of every meeting. Contributing early breaks the ice and makes it easier to add your perspective throughout. Prepare what you want to say in advance so that when the opportunity arises, you can speak with confidence and clarity. If you don’t know enough about the topic to share an opinion, ask questions or summarize what you’ve heard to help the group move forward.
4. Be proactive and ask others what they need. Taking the initiative to reach out and ask others how you can support them will help you build trust with your colleagues and set you apart as a leader. This goes not only for those who work alongside you, but also your managers and supervisors. Many people assume that since their higher-ups have the power to delegate, if they need support, they’ll ask. However, this isn’t always the case. Going above and beyond to offer your skills during this stressful time will be sure to make a lasting impression.
If you can, make it as easy as possible for your manager to say yes to your offer by reaching out with a specific way that you can help.
For example, “In our last meeting you mentioned that you’d like to begin implementing company-wide virtual happy hours. I’d be happy to spearhead that effort for you. Here’s my plan for making it happen.”
5. Schedule one-on-one video calls with colleagues. While it’s important to focus on business outcomes, we can’t forget that building strong, trusting relationships is incredibly important to our own success and that of our company. Reach out to your colleagues individually to schedule a virtual lunch or coffee date where you can take the focus off of business and get to know one another on a more personal level.
6. Send your manager a weekly recap of your accomplishments. For managers leading teams virtually for the first time, it can be nerve-racking to try and keep track of everyone’s progress and ensure that the lack of supervision isn’t leading to decreased productivity. Make it easy on your manager by sending a succinct update of what you’ve accomplished at the end of each week. This gives you an opportunity to clearly articulate the value that you’re creating and to build a reputation as someone who is reliable and communicative. When your manager knows that they can trust you to drive results without micromanagement, they’ll be more likely to come to you with future opportunities.
7. Share the positive work that your company is doing. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations to adapt their operations at an unprecedented speed. Has your company implemented new initiatives to support employee well-being? Have they contributed money or supplies to the fight against coronavirus? Has one of your colleagues gone above and beyond to offer support? If so, share it on LinkedIn! Be sure to tag your company and any relevant colleagues.
8. Hone your skills and share what you’re learning. Why not use all of this time at home to develop new skills or hone existing ones? When you invest in yourself, you not only increase your ability to contribute, but you also demonstrate to your organization that you’re committed to your growth and continued learning. Some of our favorite resources for learning from home include Skillshare and Udemy.
If you are looking for a more robust solution to propel your leadership development from home, we invite you to check out our 4-month virtual intensive Fast Track, which includes highly interactive virtual trainings, one-on-one executive coaching sessions and a community of high-performing women leaders across diverse industries that will unleash your leadership potential. You can learn more and join us here.
As you put these tips into action, you’ll stand out as a leader in a time when your contributions are needed more than ever.