You’ve been doing it for years — and if you’re a modern worker, self-managing has become more critical for you to complete your job functions and goals. Believe it or not, most of us have mastered many self-managing techniques. And in the coming years we’ll take self-management to a new level, and tune our collaborative communication of our work and work progress.
Fundamentally, self-managing has both personal and business gains. When leveraged, it encourages people to continually communicate our unique work to a group of co-workers, teams, or the collective company. The impact is improved results, delivery, reputation, and social clout in your organization. Most importantly, it helps you have a more positive outlook on your goals, work and efforts.
One of the key challenges with self-managing is the communication of work. We all go through this when we compile our weekly report, which is blasted out via email or discussed on team calls. For the modern worker — and especially the virtual worker — communication with co-workers in and outside of your team can be challenging and will continue to be challenging.
Luckily, there are a couple simple techniques you can apply to improve your communication with your peers or manager. By incorporating goal communication into to your self-managing toolbox, you will help your co-workers and managers gain a new sense of how your work supports your organizational or team mission.
9 Simple Self-Management Communication Tips for the Modern Worker
1 – Captain’s log
There are infinite ways of doing this, but a key to self-management communication is starting to record your “microgoals.” These typically last anywhere from 20-30 days, but gives a strong forecast of your workload. Leverage a system that works for you and is easy in order to track this. For example, Google Docs is a great way to get started. Overall, start logging your work on a consistent basis and stick to it.
Lastly, make sure it’s understandable if someone found it laying on a coffee table. It might be clear to you, or someone on your team, but might not make sense to someone outside of your team.
2 – Become a publisher
A key to to getting goal supports and recognition is to keep communication open with all parties. It ensures that everyone is very clear on the expectations of your work (delivery rate dates and deliverables). Be sure each impact member knows the specifics of what you are trying to. This will keep you from feeling overloaded at work.
3 – Build a portfolio
Keep a record of your style of work (presentations, documents, communications). A portfolio is a great way to show off what you have been doing for people who are not in the know. While presenting one of your goals is fantastic, the final outcome is even better. It’s also important to share your final version with anyone who contributed to your work. Send a quick thanks and show off how they helped you succeed.
4 – Know your impact
Always understand who is impacted by your work, delivery rates, and success. Ask yourself: Who is impacted by this work? What teams are impacted? If I wasn’t able to deliver, what would be the impact? Asking yourself these questions on your work will help you set very clear expectations upfront with each consumer of your goal.
5 – Check in with contributors
Very little is every accomplished alone if you are a on a team or in a business. Check in with your goal contributors and make sure to thank them for the impact they’ve had on your project goal or objective. Keep it to a standard and it will go a long way. You should also update them on your progress – you can do this using your social enterprise as status update, or send them a quick personal update.
6 – Welcome & communicate interrupts
We all get “interrupt” goals but we rarely log them. These are the “Fire Drills” we all get, typically from our manager, but they can come from our co-workers as well. There are two challenges: 1) we rarely communicate them to others who are depending on our work, 2) We never push our other goals out based on this new workload. Make sure to communicate your interrupts and add them as a new goal to your weekly communication list. This will help the process run smoothly at all times.
7 – Own up
In today’s business climate, we all push towards unreasonable deadlines. It’s the nature of the pace in business today. In self-management, it’s critical you “commit” to an agreed upon deadline. While people always want you to stretch your boundaries, it is up to you to state if you can deliver on this date based on your current workload. After all, the only person who ultimately knows your workload is you and you alone. But if you miss your dates, own up and ask, “What’s the impact of me pushing this out?” Follow up with a question, “Does it impact you personally?” You can let your co-worker know about your interrupts or other goals, which forced you to course correct. Overall, keep your promises — as your work impacts many others on your team.
8 – Ask for feedback & listen
Self-managing is about constantly improving. That requires that you are constantly asking for feedback from not just leaders or managers, but from your peers and co-workers as well. Ask for feedback and then zip your lips and listen.
9 – Give thanks
It’s always important to take a lens to yourself and your work thus far. But it’s equally (if not more important) you recognize others for their contributions. Take a minute to start your next email with “Thanks,” “Big thanks,” “Many thanks,” “Much appreciated,” or whatever words work for you. It’s also important to document it and publish it far and wide. Don’t just leave this to email, mention it on your weekly calls and say – “Janet had a big impact on this, so big thanks. Now here’s to the results…”
Self-managing will also leverage new social technologies and the social enterprise. Managers, employees and business people are working more collaboratively than ever before, thus many can leverage new techniques to communicate their work and goals. You can start doing this by leveraging what you have – such as an internal social network for status updates, to give thanks, or post your latest accomplishments.
Social Goals takes this even further allowing you to create and manage your WorkStory. Your WorkStory can be sent to co-workers and managers to assist with discussion, or can be maintained just to help change the way you feel about your contributions and work.