Tell – Show – Do
Tell what you want – Show how it is done – Do it with the new staff member (hands on).
Without all three, you will just be “hoping” that your expectations are met. Remember, no matter how talented your team is, they cannot read your mind, at least not in the beginning.
Think about cleaning for example. If I said wash the car, one might have varying degrees of what that means. The iterations could be from these examples plus many more possibilities:
- Wash & Rinse
- Wash, Rinse & Dry
- Wash, Rinse & Dry plus add Armor All to the tires and plastic trim
- Plus clean the interior windows and vacuum the interior
- Plus wipe off the dashboard as well
But if I said detail every aspect of the car’s exterior and interior other than the undercarriage and engine, that would have a different meaning.
Each expectation should be shared.
The point in communication around expectations and responsibilities is we all too often assume others view things the way we view them. Then we get disappointed with them when they didn’t do it “right” (“Right being defined the way we envisioned it being done.”) When someone doesn’t “get it” – it very well may be them, but as leaders, we should first question did we do what was necessary to make sure they “got it”.
If we did our job and they didn’t perform, that is a performance management issue. If we didn’t do our job in setting up clear expectations then that is on us, not our team member as good leaders/managers.
My good friend Brent Darden often shares the concept of the “briefback” / “brief back” / “backbrief”– This is a concept that when a directive is given, the recipient repeats it back so that both parties are clear on alignment and understanding.
From Velaction.com: “The process of giving instructions often leaves a significant amount of room for misinterpretation. People are often distracted during the briefing, or skim the email containing instructions. Or, the recipient may just make some different assumptions than the person delivering the instructions. Regardless, as in the childhood game of ‘telephone’, the message’s intent can be distorted. The briefback is an effective tool to manage that ambiguity. A briefback (sometimes called “brief back” with two words, or “backbrief”) is exactly what it sounds like. The person or people receiving the instructions give a synopsis of the instructions they just received. The person originally giving the instructions can then determine whether the message was received properly. Obviously, if the repeated version is not the same as the original intent, the instructions should be clarified.”
Reproduced thanks to the kind generosity of Norm & Justin Cates at Club Insider
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