Throughout my career I have managed a wide variety of teams from telemarketing and merchandisers to product and service development.
Some were small, some large, some skilled others lacked experience. But my success as a leader related to how well my communications and actions reflected:
- Clear purpose
- Confidence in ability
- Clarity of instructions.
There is nothing more destructive than lack of direction. Whether communicating to an individual or a team the purpose of this exchange must be stated in precise and comprehensible way to your audience.
In my experience just knowing the reason behind why you have asked a person or your team to perform a task enables them to focus on what they need to do. It also gives them the opportunity to ask questions that set expectations correctly. This was most clearly shown to me when setting up a merchandising campaign. Once the team knew the purpose of the campaign was research of, as opposed to training of agency staff their productivity doubled.
By stating a clear purpose you will be able to observe your team allocating sufficient time to perform the job required in the timeframe required. It also sets an obvious framework for feedback between you, the individual and the team.
Clarity of Instruction
Having stated the purpose of the task you are in the perfect place to give precise and comprehensible instructions. All to often this aspect of delegation is rushed and dangerous assumptions are made that come back to haunt you!
Taking the time and effort to plan and prepare such instructions for your team ultimately save you time. Taking five minutes to ask yourself:
- Have the team encountered this task before?
- Yes – what happened? Do I need to change what I did to succeed now?
- No – do their skills match the requirements?
- Do their skills & experience give a good match to the task’s?
- Yes – how I best use those?
- No – where are the gaps? What impact will this have? How can I reduce this?
Once you have your answer you will be able to decide on the tone and depth of the instructions you need to give to ensure success.
This was most evident to me when working with service development teams and managing the telemarketing team. I had to adapt the level and depth of my instructions to suit these two diverse teams.
Confidence in Ability
By stating the purpose and your instructions clearly to the team you demonstrate your confidence in their ability to perform the task efficiently. Your presentation of the task in this way shows you recognize the capabilities of the team.
It also provides you with opportunities to recognize and reward promote your teams performance helping to maintain their motivation.
I found this was especially important when managing teams after a take-over or re-organization. By offering clarity, clear instructions and showing confidence in my teams abilities their productivity was maintained at a time of great uncertainty.
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