Part of the Blog Series: Leadership Principles for Young Professionals.
I am going to keep this post short and simple. There is no need to try to over complicate this leadership principle with content fluff in order to fill space, but this principle is important to understand, none-the-less.
Understood equates to Clear and Effective Communication
The burden of understanding resides with the one doing the communicating. Intentions are never enough, and it’s a cop-out to place blame on the person who did not understand. Firing off an email is not effective communication either. A quick set of statistics for you: 7% of our communication comes from the words we use. 38% of our communication comes from our tonality, and 55% of our communication comes from our body language. So, in other words, you give yourself a 7% chance to ensure tasks are clearly understood when you only communicate through email. How often have you listened to someone’s tone on a call, and perceived them to not understand? Or, saw how someone adjusted in their seat, or diverted eye contact when you were in the process of communicating a task or assignment? Likewise, how much more effective are you in emphasizing importance or how CRITICAL of an assignment with your voice and body language vs. just an email? The burden of understanding is on you the leader. Make sure your people understand what you expect in the assignments you are giving them. One tip when communicating an assignment: Make sure objectives and boundaries are made clear. If those are clearly defined, your team will be armed with what they need to make adjustments and decisions in order to complete the assignments you have given them.
Supervised equates to Support and Obstacle Elimination, as well as Assurance
You don’t have to micromanage your people, but you should maintain contact with them during the conduct of an assignment to make sure any and all obstacle are managed or eliminated in order to empower them to complete their assignment. Can you answer how you people are progressing? What challenges or changes they have faced? Needs or additional resources they could use to be more effective? What is the timeline to complete the assignment? Supervision is not the act of taking the ball out of their hands and micromanaging their activities. It’s being able to answer these questions in order to assure nothing unexpected pops up and derails expected outcomes, as well as allowing for enough foresight to inject solutions to challenges with enough time to meet expected deadline.
Accomplished equates to Verify
We’ve all heard the phrase “trust but verify.” When your team has completed an assignment, how do you know they have accomplished that assignment according to expectations? Do you just take their word for it? I can tell you that in the Marines, this was a huge mistake for your officers. I saw fellow officers report with certainty that a task was complete according to expectations based off the word of their Marines, only to have their higher ranking officer conduct his own verification and that verification resulted in the completed task not meeting expectations, which I point you back to the previous aspects of this principle of understood and supervise. If the tasks are understood and supervised, it’s much easier to verify that the outcomes are the desired outcomes.
As a young leader, hoping that your communications are understood, hoping that your people will come to you with challenges and obstacles, and hoping that when they report their assignments are complete according to expectations is a sure-fire way to placing undue stress in your life, and causing yourself to resort to becoming a micromanager in the future. This leadership principle is simple, yet one that is more frequently missing in many leaders’ daily practices. The more time you spend practicing this principle, the more time you have tackling high priority items that would otherwise suffer from lack of attention due to your need to micromanage your people.
Share Your Thoughts!
I encourage and look forward to your thoughts and feedback on my blog posts. Please feel free to take the time to share your comments on the posts that interest you.
The copyright in this website and the material on this website (including without limitation the text, computer code, artwork, photographs, images, music, audio material, video material and audio-visual material on this website) is owned by Christopher Waters and Agoge Leadership Development LLC and its licencors.