I hate the lack of information or when wrong information arrives to me. I often get just a part of it, which ends up wrong and I have to redo half of the work. One person says “do that”, another says “you shouldn’t have done that”. Or even worse, you receive a task from your colleagues who say “the manager asked you for it”. Doesn’t the manager have a voice to tell it to me himself or herself? This way the top-down information flow creates misunderstandings and expectation bias. Managing each other’s expectations is often missed and may cause a loss of a valuable employee to the company. However, it is not managing expectations that I would like to write about today. I would like to focus on information flow. I would like to show how important is passing clear messages between people in a small team managed by one individual. You may say that the manager of this small group is still being managed by higher managers, who are managed by the organisation’s Chief Officers or Partners and only they have the influence on that manager’s decisions.
Yes, I agree. It is important to look at communication across the entity, but I would like to start with a simple example before we discuss communication in huge corporations.
Communicating a task
One individual, a woman or a man, who has in his hands the power of leading the team and managing their work, has a complex assignment that has to be verified within the group to assure if it had been performed correctly.
If you, as a manager, bring the task to each team member separately, you may encounter split of approach or even end up with having the same job done twice. You may even find yourself obtaining two different outcomes.
You can of course send an email and let your team members split the work between them. Afterwards you will just wait to receive an outcome without further explanation of the task details. I have seen this happen often in different companies. “I am a manager, I delegate, I do nothing further”. What was the outcome afterwards? The goal was not fully achieved. Need to redo. To exchange hundreds of emails that will plan the task. Or worse, you will need to stay after hours and do it yourself.
Another situation which happens quite often is to let the checker know only once the doer had done the task, but without informing the doer. Hope it is clear what I just wrote, but for sure it might not be clear for the doer why it is his teammate and not you, the manager, checking his work. Awkward thing…
What is the issue?
All the above mentioned communication situations not only bring you misunderstanding of the work to be done, but also make employees confused and unsatisfied. Instead of building up the team spirit, they can create lack of confidence and mistrust between you and colleagues.
How to communicate best in this case?
How to make the team split tasks and reach a goal within the deadline?
The best way is to gather the relevant team members for a quick meeting. Conversation has a great advantage over emails and phone calls. You will be able to split tasks clearly so each task will be taken by the expert in the area. There will be also time to explain why they will check each other’s work rather than you checking what they did. The meeting can take only 10 to 20 minutes of your precious managerial time. This time taken before starting the assignment will enable you to avoid major errors and redoing the work yourself.
You are a manager so when you delegate, do it in the managerial style.
Thanks to it you will have much less to review and you will lead well organized team.
Check also other posts: The Leader