How To Make Sure They Get it Right First Time

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On one of our programs, a manager remarked that he had a team member who, no matter how he gave directions of what should be done, always failed to comply. It wasn’t a matter of competence or illiteracy…they just failed to do what was asked of them to the degree required. He asked what he should do.

We worked on a checklist similar to the one below. See if you can add any more ideas to the list.

* Concentrate on the ‘when’ it needs to be done by. Confirm that the deadline is within the reach of the employee and that both of you are aware of any other priorities that might get in the way.

* Ensure the employee knows the reason for the task and the benefits of achieving the right result.

When you give instructions, pay attention to these specifics:

  • The right time. When is the right time? When the employee is able to give their full attention and concentration
  • The right way. Relate to the employee. Adapt to their learning style, their communication style and their level of vocabulary
  • Visual reference. When possible, provide a tangible example of what you are looking for from the employee, a sample, model, diagram, graphic, report or rendering.
  • Pause for questions. After every few steps ask “Are you clear, or do you have questions?”
  • Ask for a replay. Don’t ask “Did you get it?” or “Do you understand?” Not all employees will say “No” for fear of looking stupid. Instead, ask them to clarify what needs to be done in their own words, with deadlines and quality criteria clearly covered
  • Progress reports. Does the task require interim follow-up? Then say something like “Let’s get together next Tuesday at 9am so you can bring me up to date. OK?”

After the task is completed, give the employee feedback, positive and, if necessary, corrective. Then, assess your effectiveness. If anything went wrong, is there some aspect of your communication you could improve on next time?

By identifying what level of communication is right for the employee, there is less chance of there being a problem with them carrying out the ideas you have discussed with them.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training   | Image courtesy by Digital Art of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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Updated on: 13 April, 2012

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