- Be as clear as possible. When communicating with direct reports, peers or bosses up the org chart, clarity is king! Be concise, ask questions to check in for understanding and buy-in and welcome feedback and questions. That way you have the highest likelihood for success.
- Whenever possible and appropriate, make things assigned, delegated, handed off time-bound and measurable. By when? How much? Etc. This is important so that you are clear on what you want from the individual on the other end of that communication. This helps eliminate or greatly reduce the chance for misdirection on the task/project/work assigned. And THIS helps control the chance for stress and conflict created when something is seemingly not done as we wished.
- Explain the “WHY”. Why is this important? What will it do for us, me, the team, the organization???? Why am I being given the work? Answering this question should help in getting more buy in and cooperation if done properly.
- Check in with the person given the project, task, whatever on a number of fronts. Before beginning it! Some examples might be, “Have you ever done this type of work before?” “Where do you think you should start with this?” “What can I do to support your efforts with this?”(NOT ‘how can I help you’!)
- Confirm for understanding. A great way to do so, pending the dynamics of the relationship(boss/direct report? Co-worker? ), is to check in for understanding. And HOW the heck do you do that? One great way would be to just ask them “So, tell me what your understanding of this project/task/conversation is? Help me make sure I communicated this properly in order to help ensure your/our success.” Yes, this approach is NOT always necessary or appropriate, but when something obviously is more than routine, day to day tasks….use it!
- Set an agreed upon time and date to reconnect and see how things are progressing, if there are any roadblocks or challenges to completing the job satisfactorily.
- Once things are complete, catch them doing something right today. Recognize their efforts. Be specific on what they did particularly well. Again, be clear and concise with specific examples. Encourage them to do more of this in the future.
- Once done and the high five’s are taken care of with them, ask a few key questions to configure a mini-recap of takeaways and measures of success. Some possible options on what to ask might be as follows: “How’d this project go for you?” “What went well?” “What did you learn from doing this?” “Is there anything I could or should do differently in the future to help make this go more smoothly for you?”
- Successful, significant work projects, tasks, presentations completed……file away in the employee file when you’re the boss. This serves as great info at performance review time.