The Remote Worker's Guide to "Managing Up" - Deepstash

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Managing Up For Remote Workers

Managing Up For Remote Workers

In the real world, people who know how to make themselves and their contributions seen (without being annoying about it) get ahead of their higher-performing peers all the time.

As the work world shifts from an hours-worked mentality to a work-accomplished one, remote workers need to master the subtle art of “managing up” and be proactive in making sure their work is seen.


231 reads

The Metric Black Hole

The Metric Black Hole

If you’re a motorcycle mechanic, a rack of repaired motorcycles is a clear indicator you can point to after a hard day’s work. Similarly, the h-index is a grading score given to professors at research universities that ranks their impact in a chosen field. Both a high h-index and a rack of repaired motorcycles are easy metrics to point to that demonstrate your value.

In a business environment, if the metrics that determine success for your position are unclear, it’s difficult to figure out where you stand in the organization or know if you’re doing a good job.


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Pretending To Be Busy

Pretending To Be Busy

In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner.

These vanity metrics might include how quickly you respond to an email or Slack DM or how many meetings you’ve attended over the past week. Those things constitute “work”, but they have next to no correlation to how much value you’re building for the company.


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Intensive Vs Extensive Value

Intensive Vs Extensive Value

Intensive value is derived from a specific skill you’ve developed over time.  You’ve established yourself as the domain expert in a specific part of the business.

Extensive value is derived from your relationships with others. You’re viewed as a connector within an organization. You’re involved in moving multiple projects along. Team members depend on you to execute on a daily basis in order to keep things running smoothly.


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How To Promote Yourself and Your Work

Here are three steps knowledge workers can follow to naturally build and demonstrate value in their organizations (without coming off as arrogant jerks)

  • Step 1: Understand the difference between intensive and extensive value.
  • Step 2: Build your own scorecard.
  • Step 3: Send regular updates.


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Developing Intensive Value

If your goal is to develop intensive value, you want to build clout around a specific area:

  • Take classes and read books about the topic.
  • Take on extra side projects to tinker and experiment until you know virtually everything there is to know.
  • Join conversations within your organization and outside communities.
  • Reach out to influential people in your field and build mentorship relationships with them.


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Developing Extensive Value

Developing Extensive Value

If your goal is to develop extensive value, relationships are key. Extensive value is built through getting involved in multiple areas throughout the organization.

  • Build a thorough understanding of each department, how they’re interlinked, and the key projects going on at any one time.
  • Take the time to get to know people within your organization. Grab a cup of coffee with them and get to know what their strengths and goals are. What things at work naturally get them the most excited?
  • Offer to help colleagues out whenever you can. It’s a natural way to build strong connections at work.


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Building Your Scorecard

Once you’ve decided which type of value you’re looking to build, you need to determine how you’re going to track your progress. Many positions come with built-in metrics that can be used to measure impact. If you’re a support professional, you might look at how many emails you have sent in a given day.

Similarly, developers might look at the number of issues closed. These metrics can work, but they’re rarely sufficient to demonstrate the full value you bring to the table.


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Mapping Your Work

Mapping Your Work

At the start of the year or quarter, identify the progress you want to make and how you’re going to measure success.

Here are some tips:

  • Select metrics that are easy to measure and highly valuable. You should be able to gauge progress from week to week.
  • Build a consistent narrative. If you’re changing up the scorecard each week, you’re not creating an easy narrative to follow. Consistency is key. Each week should build on the next.
  • Tie your metrics into the larger company picture. What are the top goals of your organization or team and how does what you’re working on move those forward?


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Your OKRs

Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a popular framework for teams and individuals to set goals and measure progress. It’s a great way to build a concrete narrative around your accomplishments and the value you’ve created for the team.


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Self Performance Review

Each month, complete your own monthly performance review. Your scorecard should provide the foundation, but you can add in answers to questions:

  • What major projects did you move forward with in the past month? How does that impact the overall business?
  • In what ways did you go above and beyond your normal responsibilities?
  • Looking back over your quarterly goals, where did you make progress?


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Sending Regular Updates

Sending Regular Updates

You could send in a quarterly update to HR or send over a weekly email to your supervisor with a recap, or both. The cadence and medium will differ; the goal is still to keep everyone updated with our progress.

There’s a fine line between demonstrating your value and overly boasting about your accomplishments. This fine line leads many to downplay their contributions in fear of coming across as a braggart.


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Benefits Of Sending Recurring Updates

Benefits Of Sending Recurring Updates

  • If your annual performance review isn’t until December, it’s easy to forget what you worked on in March. This practice ensures nothing falls through the cracks.
  • You’ll get better at identifying and communicating your contributions.
  • Depending on the size of your organization, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone’s work. This helps out your supervisor and Human Resources department by keeping them up-to-date throughout the year and providing a paper trail to fall back on during a performance review.


92 reads



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