Thursday, May 20, 2010

Manage, Take Ownership and Be Proactive

I was recently speaking with a good friend of mine who is a communications consultant for a Fortune 100 Company.  She expressed some frustrations about some of the disrespect the team members had for the communications function and on-boarding people with her efforts.  I suggested she have a team meeting.  Because I see this happen fairly broadly, I’m sharing the advice I gave.

The first thing to do is introduce yourself and your role.  Explain how your work will be furthering the objectives of the team and why it’s important.  You can’t assume that they will automatically understand.  If you have specifically relevant experience you may consider sharing that as well if you feel you need more credibility.

Next I recommend explaining how you will be interacting with the team.  Will it be weekly assignments? Daily?  Adhoc?  If you give a team member a project and a deadline make sure they agree to the deadline.  If you have the flexibility you may even consider asking them when they think they can have it completed by.  If a project deadline is one week and you haven’t heard anything after four days, check in.  “Hey I know you committed to getting me that write up about XYZ in three days and just want to see if you have any questions or problems you’ve run into.  No?  Great!  I’ll look forward to it in three days then.  Thanks!”   This serves as a reminder to your team member and facilitates communication should there be any delays. 

You can NOT assume that since someone has committed an assignment to you that they will remember having done so and that you’re instructions were clear.  In fact, successful managers will assume otherwise until their colleague has demonstrated regular responsibility for their commitments.  At the end of the day, you may have received commitments from people but if their work isn’t done YOU are still the one responsible for the project.  There’s nothing productive about placing blame on others for missing your deadline.  If, despite your regular, proactive, efforts your colleague is late in their commitment, speak to them when you are alone.  “Hey I just want you to know that I was counting on you for your write up.  Because you got it to me late the team leader is really pissed at me and now our project is off schedule.  What could I have done differently so that we would have avoided this delay?”

In short, don’t assume people know what they are doing or will have your request as a priority (until proven otherwise).  Own it.  Own it.  Own it and proactively manage your assignments until you achieve the results you need.  Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the helpful advice, Jim! Definitely a print out and keep by the desk blog post.


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