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Working with an Overseas Manager

Shalini Singhal

Head of Investment Operations and Data Governance in Asset Management IT at Swiss Re

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Problem

My current manager for the last three years is overseas and in a different time zone than me. I have found that more difficulties arise in terms of maintaining contact, as well as building rapport with your manager than if they were living close to you. It is hard to make sure they are aware of what you are working on or that you still exist in everyday business aspects.

"It is hard to make sure they are aware of what you are working on or that you still exist in everyday business aspects."

My manager went to a meeting with two other senior managers, one of which I had been working closely with on something. This peer of his mentioned to my manager that he had been working with me and that he might be encountering a problem. My manager knew nothing about our collaboration and was upset because I hadn't properly briefed him. He, therefore, was left feeling a bit foolish and unprepared about the challenges and concerns the other manager was raising to him.

Actions taken

  • Since then, I have started calling in a weekly catch up to brief him on what is going on in my week.
  • If I am meeting with any of his peers, I now drop him a note that the meeting happened and what we discussed during that time.

Lessons learned

  • I realized that one of my jobs is to make my manager's work life easier.
  • The weekly catch-ups do not have to be long, but they do need to be informative. I have found that formalizing it in a 30-minute slot keeps us in a balanced routine to meet even if we have to cancel every now and then.
  • By keeping my manager up to date about any meetings I have with his peers, he can stay informed and either come back to me and ask for more details or at least remain aware of these happenings.

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Shalini Singhal

Head of Investment Operations and Data Governance in Asset Management IT at Swiss Re


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