Sam has now faced a difficult situation with his employees, confronted the problems, and is now ready to maintain the expectations. His question to me was, “How?”
During our phone conversation, I said, “You must put it out in the open. Do not make the mistake of assuming all employees should know better.”
“Shouldn’t they naturally understand my expectations?”
“Especially in today’s culture, you must clearly communicate expectations. Many employees coming off the street have not been raised with good work ethics. We must train them in the way they should go as workers. And even if they do know better, you are responsible for spelling out your expectations. You must verbalize, and you should formally document, what some of us consider common-sense. If you’re on the clock, you should be working. Clock out for lunch, dinner, etc.”
“That seems like a lot of work.”
“It is, but the question is, do you want your employees to guess or know what you want from them while they’re on the job?”
“I don’t want any questions.”
“Then provide clear communication. It all starts with you.”
A few weeks later, I heard back from Sam. He’d followed all of my recommendations, and supported his verbal instructions with written expectations. We both agreed, if there were further problems, at the very least, employees could not claim they didn’t know any better. If employees chose not to listen, they could only blame themselves.
Now Sam had the makings of a true accountability structure.
I’m always amazed at how few managers and owners understand the importance and power of clear communication. Preventable problems are avoided and bigger issues thwarted, when we take the courage to speak up. If we don’t, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Do you take steps to clearly verbalize and follow-up with written instructions to those who follow you?
Anita FreshFaith @ Work
John 8:43 (NIV)
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Communications Specialist, national speaker, and author. She lives in Missouri with her family.
Contact her via www.freshstartfreshfaith.org or firstname.lastname@example.org