Why Didn't You Tell Me?April 1, 2005
I came across an interesting post this week: Don't Keep Your Staff Guessing. The general idea is that we all have expectations of those who work with us and for us. Rather than rely on spontaneous teachable moments to reveal these truths, why not spell them out for your team?
I love this idea. If something matters to you, make sure your staff knows about it. To be clear, I'm not referring to the my-role-in-the-organization-type stuff, which typically is spelled out, but more the Never interrupt me when I have my headphones on! examples. In my opinion, the more information the better.
So, in the interest of full-disclosure, here are the ten things my team should know.
1. Be on time and prepared. If you don't know why you've been invited to a meeting, find out beforehand.
2. Be organized. Stay on top of your work and your environment. I don't subscribe to the idea that some people are too busy or creative to be organized.
3. Push new ideas. I believe every person in an organization should be thinking constantly about what they would like to work on - new ideas, things to change, improve, or drop. Each of our days is filled with work that is given to us, but if that river runs dry, even for just a day, we should have hundreds of ideas we can't wait to explore.
4. Be professional, helpful and respectful at all times.
5. Respect the other members of the team. Keep distracting conversations to a minimum. If one person is facing a challenging situation or immediate deadline, do your part to share the burden and help minimize interruptions.
6. Details matter. The big picture is critical, but so are the details. Take your time and get it right on the first attempt.
7. Never act like a job is beneath you.
8. Develop a routine and stick with it. If someone asks where you are, I'd rather not have to say, "I don't know."
9. Ask questions. If you're lost, ask for help. If something isn't clear, ask for more information. If something seems wrong or inefficient, let me know - it might be both! I love questions and would much rather clarify something than have a substantial amount of time wasted. And when I don't have the answer, I'll be happy to share that as well.
10. Avoid surprises. Let me know as early as possible that a deadline is in jeopardy. If a significant bug or issue has come up, I should be the first to know.
Bonus: Read my blog. I'm not talking about posts on soccer practice, summer vacations, or movie reviews, but if your leader is writing about your profession and your organization, it's worth your time to read it. Besides, where else are you going to learn things like this :)
Congratulations to my team for doing such a great job on these, without the benefit of this post!