By April 19, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Don’t Keep Them In The Dark – Tell Your Staff Why

Don’t Keep Them In The Dark – Tell Your Staff Why

As a manager, I've always found it more useful to sit down and talk to my staff about why they're being asked to do something and what the goals or objectives are and how they fit within the overall corporate objectives. For me, this was especially important when we are implementing initiatives that were top-down.

Unfortunately, some managers treat their management responsibility like they're in the military – barking out orders and expecting them to be followed blindly.

But that's not how the modern military actually does it. While ultimately, orders are to be followed, the concept of "command intent" is a well-established military principle that ensures the goal of the orders will be achieved but provides and explanation of the goal and why it matters. They are also provided with some latitude in how they achieve that goal.

It's important to the military situation since the troops may encounter situations or changes in the field that might otherwise make it impossible to achieve the goal. The same thing exists in the business world. But by understanding the ‘why’ of the goal, they can work around obstacles and are more likely to meet the objectives of the goal.

And in fact your staff, who can be considered to be on the front line, may know of better ways to achieve the goal rather than blindly following a narrowly specified approach.

So the idea of command intent is to make sure your staff know what the reason is for achieving the goal and may even set some parameters around which they have flexibility. This is a better use of the expertise and experience your staff should have been treating them like robots. They may actually have information, background and experiences that can help you either modify your objectives or set a different path to achieving them.

The reason you hire staff should be to bring in expertise and knowledge that you don't have. They are literally on the front line and should be experts in their specific responsibilities while you have a more general view and are responsible for integrating your corporation's needs with your department's ability to implement.

By explaining the reason behind things, even if your staff doesn’t completely agree with them, it will be easier for them to use their background and experience to achieve the initiative or goals than if they're simply told to do it without understanding why.

And you might receive valuable feedback that you can use to modify the goal to make it easier to achieve and in doing so, make both your staff and yourself successful.

That's your role as a manager - to facilitate, not just give orders.

About Michel Theriault

Michel is the founder of Success Fuel for Managers. He is an author, speaker and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is also a contributor to Forbes and AllBusiness Experts . Michel is available for speaking engagements, training and consulting. Connect with him or send an email.

Posted in: Management

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