Have you ever had a conversation with somebody where you asked them to do something and they nodded their head and went off to do such task, only to return with what you can consider a dissapointment?
Did the experience have you wondering if you were not clear in your request? Do you find yourself doubting your message? Maybe you were not clear. You certainly asked if they had questions and they didn’t, so why didn’t it go as you expected? Or even worse, you find out they spent hours completing a task that, had they done the way you expected them to, should have been a quick activity to accomplish.
Here are a few things to consider.
Most of us don’t like to admit when we don’t know how to do something and certainly would prefer not to divulge that weakness to our manager if there is not full trust and respect in that relationship.
We similarly may not be comfortable asking clarifying questions, as managers may fear that also shows weakness.
The average manager underestimates the need to walk an employee through step-by-step how to accomplish something that for them is “easy” but for the employee is 100% new.
So can we avoid these pitfalls? First, build a relationship. Your employees need to know that you have their back and their best interest in mind. YOU need to create an environment where employees are comfortable to articulate concerns or request clarity.
That being said, sometimes there hasn’t been time yet to build a foundation. What do you do then? Ask specific questions about the process. Have them articulate back to you what they are going to do. Don’t ask “any questions”, but instead ask, “how do you think you will get the information you need in order to accomplish task x?”
By asking questions that don’t allow for yes or no answers, you will be able to get a clear picture of what the employee is thinking and where maybe their gaps in knowledge sit. They may not know they can just ask “Sue” for that piece of information, they don’t need to spend 3 hours running a report!
Secondly, for more complex projects or goals, schedule check in’s. Have the employee articulate what they have accomplished so far and what there next steps are. If you wait until the “due date” only to find out the employee is totally off course, you have no time for course correction.
Therefore, the manager and employee relationship is key. Whomever said “Employees leave managers, not companies” is something we think resonates strongly. Build solid relationships with your teams, ask clarifying questions and schedule regular check ins and you can avoid wasted time, frustrated employees and more importantly, get the important work done effectively!
Need a way to capture feedback and rate your employees? Quix is a mobile-first application that allows employees and managers to quickly rate themselves and their direct reports up to twice per day. This allows companies to build a more nuanced, complete picture of employee performance over time, identifying high-performers, problem employees, potential management issues and even biases that would otherwise go unnoticed and unaddressed. Contact Quix to learn more.