Clarify Your “Ask”

How effectively do you communicate requests to your employees? Do you ask for something on the fly as you run off to your next meeting without allowing time for clarification? Are they saying (probably behind your back!) that they don’t have a clue what you asked?

Unclear communication often comes from not thinking through what needs to be said. For example, you may say that you need help on a project. If you don’t articulate your specific need, people may perform different tasks that are not necessary or are counter-productive.

It may seem obvious, but you need to be specific when you ask your employees to do something. If you leave it up to interpretation, you won’t get anything close to the results that you seek.

Even more challenging are those situations where managers ask for one thing, then change their minds about what they really want, but neglect to reveal the revised request. This is problematic since these managers, in effect, are expecting their employees to be clairvoyant.

You’re not always going to have time to create a clear scope around a request, but if your need changes, circle back to the people involved and inform them of the change.

I know this may sound like a lot of work, but let’s face it, good communication takes work. If you continually ask for one thing and expect another, your employees will quickly catch on that you don’t know what you want. This begins the path to misinterpretation, miscommunication, and serious misunderstandings.

The investment in a little extra time in order be clear will result in a return that makes your day-to-day life so much easier.

Have a great day!​​​​​​

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