I have struggled with communicating with my manager for a long time. On the one hand, I need him to understand how valuable I am and how what I do is important. On the other hand, as an introverted person, I don't like him poking around my work.
As an employee it is important to make sure your team leaders know what you do. It would be unwise to assume your manager knows what's going on in your head.
Some companies have great reporting systems for keeping everyone in the loop. But what should you do if your firm is not one of those? You don't want to be in the team that relies on pigeons to share reports.
The benefits of communicating your accomplishments.
Having your team leader understand what exactly you do has two essential benefits for you. First, it makes sure they know how your work helps the team. This increases their opinion of you and makes sure they value you. Not to mention, it enables them to give valuable assistance and feedback to make your life easier.
Second, it reduces the risk of them giving you tasks you are not enthusiastic about. If they know what you're good at and what tasks you like, there is a bigger chance they assign you similar projects in the future.
On the other hand, if your manager has no idea, what you are doing or working on, they'll inundate you with tasks and projects. They don't know if you already have too much work. Or they may see you as someone who can be loaded with mundane tasks.
Improving the communication skills.
The solution for our team is the Plans, Progress, Problems (PPP) methodology that we use for weekly reporting.
Every week I set 4 – 5 plans or tasks that I feel benefit our long term goals the most. As I finish the tasks, I move them into progress. My manager can see my progress and workload in real time. That way they can give feedback on it right away and they know that if I'm already working on 5 important projects, not to assign any extra tasks.
At the end of each week, my manager sees a report that gives a clear overview of the most important tasks I've done. The report also has my plans for the upcoming week, so if he has any questions he can ask before I start completing them.
This system requires a lot of honesty and trust. There are weeks you don't accomplish much (everyone has them) and it will be tempting to give an impression that you've done more. However, that rarely works out well.
Luckily my manager understands that you can't give 140 percent every week.
Help your manager see the value.
If you need help communicating your thought to your managers, I'd recommend trying PPP methodology for reporting you own work. It is the simplest reporting technique out there. If the system suits you, I'd encourage you to introduce it to your leaders as well. You'll save huge amounts of time and reduce your stress levels when you don't have to worry about reporting that much.
You can use Weekdone to try out PPP. David Bizer, Former Google recruiter, has said that it's a "very simple management tool" that works for both personal use and company wide implementation. And for single users it is free. So, try out Weekdone now.