The Quality of Your Directions Determine Outcomes

Are you having trouble getting your team to meet your expectations when it comes to completing projects and day-to-day deliverables? If so, you could be the problem.

Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to verbalize our expectations for projects, deliverables and day-to-day activities. Especially when we are very comfortable working with our team and “just know” they are going to get something done when we expect it to be.

But that’s not the best way to lead and for critical deliverables, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Here’s an example.

Mike, the leader, needs feedback from his team on the operations plan for the year so he pops off an email with the file attached and includes the message, “Please take a look at the attached document and provide your feedback.”

He waits two days and hears nothing from his team. Annoyed, he zips off another email that says, “I haven’t heard from any of you on this yet. I was expecting your feedback by close of business yesterday.” Needless to say, all the team members scramble to get it done.

He could have circumvented the entire issue by simply stating in his original email that he needed the team members’ feedback by close of business the next day. That way each of them could juggle their priorities and get him the feedback he requested.

It’s not hard to share your expectations. You just need to be specific.  A request with no due date (yes, even from the boss!) will get shoved down on the to do list.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Denise O'Berry

Denise O’Berry — aka the Team Doc — has been working with teams and team leadership in the public, non profit and private sectors for over twenty years. Follow her @askteamdoc.

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