Approach a superior.
1) When it is specific to the project you are working on, it is often right to keep your superior informed about any issues you may be facing.
2) It may not be right to inform your superior of each and every little issue that you face.
3) It would also not be right if you are struggling through the issue & inform you superior only when it is about to break or burst or is already beyond salvage. This definitely does not help as the superior cannot do anything at that stage. He cannot repair the damage that has already happened.
Having said that, let’s look at the PROS and CONS of appraising your superiors of your day-to-day activities, and the best strategy to keep yourself and your superior happy:
A superior is there to help and there are situations where his involvement will be beneficial to you:
1) Superior can help you resolve an issue beyond your control / capabilities.
2) Superior is experienced and is most probably aware of most the issues you will face & can provide his guidance.
3) Update on every progress made – impresses the Superior of the resource capabilities & the challenges faced.
But there is also a negative impact of over-doing the same:
1) It gives an indication to the superior that the resource is not able to handle the issue himself.
2) It irritates the superior too, if he has to handle your tasks too frequently, you could be perceived as a ‘whiner’ and slowly new projects are directed to other capable resources (non-complaining types).
3) Performance KPI for this resource goes for a toss & might affect your next increment.
THE BEST STRATEGY
First give it your 100% to resolve any issue at hand and, in case you get stuck, ask your peers & then ask your superior.
Informing your Superior about the situation does not mean that you should start with the problem statement. One should give a brief status of the progress made in the project as a whole & then explain the issue clearly and concisely and also explain the nature of assistance you are seeking.
When in doubt and / or when the repercussions of a decision could be very serious, you should always take your superior’s advice.
However, in case you are unable to contact your senior, do NOT be afraid to take decisions.
There are no Right and Wrong decisions, there are only Better or Worse decisions. You would never know if your decision is good or bad, if you don’t take action, so go on, decide, execute & evaluate your decision. Doing so you will become a much better decision maker, enhancing your skill and overall career potential.
FINALLY A QUICK WORD ABOUT WHAT YOUR SUPERIOR EXPECTS FROM YOU?
1) Clear status overview on all accomplished and unaccomplished tasks.
2) Ideally the ratio of accomplished tasks v/s problematic issues should be in the ratio of 80 : 20
3) Don’t go overboard – Do not re-iterate the status again and again. Only additional & new info applicable on the issue needs to be provided.
Simply said you are working in a team where your superior is there to guide you, make the best use of your superior’s experience and knowledge and put in your 100% and Success will always be with you.