Your Employees Are Not Clairvoyant

Does your team have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and expectations for performance? If it doesn’t, it’s a recipe for confusion and misunderstandings. Think about it: if people don’t have clarity about what their supposed to do and how they’ll be evaluated, they’re walking around in the dark.

Consider these examples:

A client relationship manager doesn’t understand the full scope of what her job entails, and as a result clients do not feel they are being served properly. Her supervisor, who is frustrated by clients’ complaints, doesn’t give her specific and practical feedback, which means the same mistakes occur repeatedly.

A senior manager walks into a contentious situation in his company, doesn’t understand the politics, and proceeds to provoke other members of the senior management team. His leader avoids giving feedback, so this manager continues to irritate his colleagues and his effectiveness diminishes.

A manager ignores the problems caused by a disgruntled team member who creates a toxic work environment. His managerial style is to ignore the situation and hope that it goes away.

When I’ve raised questions about these and similar scenarios, often the answer is “they should know better.”

Although that may be the case, when you don’t provide feedback, it’s as if you expect them to be clairvoyant. It’s your job as the leader to lay the foundation for accountability. You need to clarify their roles, to tell them what they’re doing (right and wrong), and to give them the tools and resources to improve where shortfalls occur.

Avoid the clairvoyance trap and take action. It isn’t always easy to provide constructive feedback, but developing this skill will make a difference not just with the person involved but with the entire team.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
– George Bernard Shaw

Header image by Kindel Media/

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