Articles and Resources - Management

Teach Your Staff How to Fish Through Delegation

Peter is pressed for time and needs to get three tasks done by the end of the day, but there is only time for two. How can he meet the deadlines without working double time? Delegation is the answer.

When I spoke to several Managers, many said that they don't want to delegate because they can do a task faster themselves, rather than teach someone else how to do.  However, a question to ask, "Is it critical that you do the task?" Some Managers enjoy doing that task and don’t want to give it away. Does that sound familiar? On the other hand, once we invest our time to train the employees, they are set for success. 

Keep in mind that we want to delegate the task – not dump something that we don’t want to do. The aim is to help them learn and develop their competencies. 

The following are 10 tips on how to teach employees to fish through delegation.

  1. Delegate to the lowest level possible. The folks who are nearest to the task will be best suited for the work. They will have the most knowledge and day-to-day details of the job. If we delegate too high up, the task could be redelegated, which is not desirable.
  2. Include them in the delegation process. Make an announcement to the staff. "We need someone to do the monthly activity report. Who can help out?"  Empower them to be part of the decision making process. People who put their name forward will be more committed to the task.
  3. Ensure that the person has the proper information, access to resources and capable of doing the task.
  4. Make the expectations clear. As I mention in my workshops, the number reason why people fail is because of unclear expectations. Explain what needs to be done, why it needs to be done and the expected completion time. Let them determine how best to do the task. After all, our way may not always be the best way. Delegation helps to develop trust. Ask them to explain to you their understanding of the task or confirm by e-mail. By confirming the expected results, there is a clear understanding of what needs to happen. Set up time frames for checking in and monitoring. Provide support, if they need it. But please – no hovering!
  5. Match the task with the responsibility. You can delegate the responsibility, but the ultimate accountability will default to you. The buck stops with you!
  6. Step back and let them do the work. Be prepared to answer questions and to make some adjustments, as necessary. Please – no micromanaging!
  7. Avoid upward delegation. If there is an issue, brainstorm solutions with them and don't be tempted to take the task back. By solving their own problems, they will develop confidence and problem solving skills.
  8. Discuss how success will be rewarded such as future opportunities, financial reward and recognition. Give them credit for the good work.
  9. If something goes wrong, the delegator will take ultimate responsibility. There is no scapegoat. What can both of you learn from the experience and how can it be corrected in the future?
  10. Review the outcome and results. What did they accomplish? How did it meet the expectations? 

Through delegation, Managers will teach their staff how to fish and feed themselves, rather than coming to you for food. Managers will save time, get tasks done and develop staff all at the same time.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." - Mainonides



5+ Ways to Prioritize and Get More Done

Are you too busy?  Stretching to meet deadlines?  Short on time?  The most effective way to find more time and increase performance is to prioritize tasks. We need to make conscious choices as to where we spend our time.  It comes down to focus on the most critical tasks to completion.  It is not the number tasks that we have started, but what has been completed that counts.  

Here are 5+ ways to make it happen:

  1. List what needs to be done.  Write it down so it is in front of you.  A physical reminder of the tasks is a constant reminder that they need to be completed.
  2. Prioritize the tasks beginning with the most urgent and important ones. Urgent tasks are usually brought to you by someone else, which may throw off your priorities. Consider if the urgent task fits with your long term goals. Rely on your instincts.  Urgent tasks are often a crisis situation that cannot be diverted.  Afterwards, go to important tasks such as planning and relationship building.  These important tasks can give us more rewards over the longer term.
  3. Begin with a task that will give you the most value or financial payback.  If there is a client with potentially more major contracts, give them immediate attention whereas a client who you rarely see will get a lower priority. Provide each client with your best work but at different priority levels.
  4. Unplanned tasks usually involve quick decisions and we often don't have time to fully analyze the situation.  Work on the task if it takes less than five minutes.  More time demanding tasks will go on the priority list.
  5. Some task priority considerations are:
  • Can it be delegated or eliminated? Remember that when we delegate a task, it is meant to help another person grow, rather than dumping the tasks that we don't want to do.
  • Can it be eliminated? I used to prepare a monthly report but no one ever asked questions about it.  One month, I decided not to submit it. Three months later, someone inquired about the report. As it turned out, they wanted to have a report on file in case there was a question from their superiors.  
  • Can it be combined with another job? For example, can I clean out the stock room and take inventory at the same time?
  • What is the deadline? Immediate deadlines require immediate attention, while longer term deadlines can give you some breathing space.
  • How much time will the task take? If the task takes 30 minutes, we could fit it into most schedules, while a full day task needs a block of time.
  • Is someone else depending on this task to get their work done?  If our staff need some figures to complete the budget, our uncooperative methods will impact an entire process.
  • Is there pressure from the next level up? If it is, we are on their radar and cooperation is a good idea!
  • What are the consequences if the task is not done today?  If there are none - then we can delay it, but if it will get us into trouble, it is time to do it.
  • What are the long term consequences? If there are serious consequences, then it needs to go to the top of the list.
  • Will anyone notice if it is not done this day? If I can get by today, then I have bought myself some time.

By carefully analyzing each task and placing it in the right place on the priority list, we can get the right things done, at the right time, and for the right reasons.

For dozens of more ways to save time and get more done, attend Helen's Time Management Essentials workshop.



How to State Your Disagreement – Without Ticking Anyone Off

You have been asked for your opinion on an issue, but you know that you are not going to give a popular response. How can you state your opinion without causing offense or resentment? 

This is a structure with 6 easy steps to help you state your opinion without ruffling any feathers, and still get your ideas across.

Stop and Think – Some of us tend to speak before our brain is in gear. So take a few seconds to be quiet and think ... What do I think about this? Why do I think this? This reflection will help you to collect your thoughts and plan your strategy.

Rephrase what you heard them say. Put in your own words the ideas that you believe you heard. By rephrasing, we are checking our understanding and the other person either confirms or corrects our interpretation. 

Buffer – Use a phrase to gently broach the idea. It says that you value what they have said, but you are going to share another perspective. Some phrases might be:

  • I hear what you are saying – here’s another thought ...
  • I appreciate your views – here’s another way of looking at it ...
  • Interesting perspective ...
  • Something else to consider ...
  • I understand your concern ...
  • Something else to think about ...
  • This company has another way of looking at it ...

State What You Think and Why – Give them the goods, in a diplomatic way. 

Evidence – Support your idea with an example to back up your opinion. The evidence might consist of a personal experience, something that you studied, read about, researched, or observed. Evidence usually cannot be disputed. It supports your opinion and adds credibility to it.

Opinion – Conclude by saying – therefore my opinion on this issue is …

Let’s say that your office is having a meeting to discuss its current space. The office is bursting at the seams and you need a bigger facility. A suggestion is made to relocate the premises to a larger facility. You do not want to move, at this time.

  1. Stop and think – I don't want to move from the current location. It is a convenient location for my clients.
  2. Rephrase – So you think that our office should move, because the space cannot accommodate the new hires.
  3. Buffer – Something else to consider …
  4. State What You Think – Rather than a move, I think that we should expand into the vacant space that is next to our office. It will save us time and resources, and our clients will not be inconvenienced. 
  5. Evidence – Yesterday I had a client who said our location is very convenient for her, as it is just a block away from a bus stop. Other clients have remarked on how easy it is to find parking. 
  6. Opinion – Therefore, I believe that we should stay in our existing location and expand our premises.

This 6-step structure will help us to organize our thoughts and ideas in a difference of opinion scenario. Structure is important, as it takes out the emotional side of disagreements and gives us something to positively focus on. It helps us to resolve the issue, saves time, energy and frustration, and keeps individuals engaged in the conversation.



5 Easy Steps to Use EI (Emotional Intelligence) Rather than IQ For Success

Sammy was a fierce leader in an executive position. He had a clear direction of where he wanted his organization to go and how to get there.  He was surrounded by the best and brightest people. But he had a problem, his staff could not relate to him.  He operated in the old command and control style. Do as I say and do not question anything. Sammy believed that there was no place for emotions in the workplace. He was a "screamer" and it was common to see grown women and men leave his office in tears. It did not take long before his senior managers resigned and it trickled down to his middle and junior staff. The organization was facing a downward spiral and major changes were required to offset a disaster.

Sammy needed to have a close look at himself and his style of leadership to bring this organization back on track. It was essential for him to make some drastic changes to his management style and use emotional intelligence to gain the support of his staff.  But there is help out there ... Enter the world of emotional intelligence (EI).

These are the 5 steps of EI which will have more impact in your personal and professional life.

  1. Self Awareness – This is the foundation in which you listen to your inner dialogue (how you talk to yourself), look for patterns and tune into these patterns. Recognize and be more aware of your physical symptoms. For example, I get a queasy stomach before each Monday morning meeting. Be honest with yourself. Why is my stomach getting upset?  Are you getting the responses that you expect from different interactions? Sammy thought that he was approachable, but most staff members did not feel that way.
  2. Self Regulation – This is about being able to manage your thoughts, assess your response to an action or behavior and act appropriately. For example during a difficult conversation, take a deep breath, take a break or go for a walk, then respond assertively. EI users are able to recognize stressful symptoms and are able to manage properly and "let go" at the right time.
  3. Self Motivation – Set and work towards specific goals. Build a network of supportive friends, family and peers. Have a sense of purpose as to what drives you and work toward these goals.
  4. Empathy – Understand where other people are coming from and put yourself in their place.
  5. People Skills – Strengthen interpersonal skills by using assertive language and "I" statements. Know and respect boundaries of others and handle conflict constructively.

By using the EI approach, rather than only IQ, Sammy will be able to get back on track with his employees, exert his leadership role and meet the goals of his organization. Staff will be more engaged and actually want to be at work.

Do you want to know more about how EI can work for you and organization, contact Helen Dyrkacz for a workshop or coaching program near you.

More details available at Emotional Intelligence at Work.



Did You Know That Managing People Is Like Running A Marathon?

Over the summer, I have run in two half marathons. The first one was the Fargo Rocks Marathon (complete with live bands at every mile) and the second one was in hometown, Winnipeg. We were fortunate to have ideal conditions. The skies were overcast and temperatures were in the mid-teen’s or mid-60’s for our American friends. Each run was fast, flat and friendly. Two years ago, I actually ran (and successfully completed) my first full marathon. But that is a subject for another blog.

As I reflect upon the races, I believe that running is similar to managing people.

In order to complete a marathon in a reasonable time, runners need to get in shape. I remember my first attempt. I ran the distance of 1 street light to the next and then walked to the next one. It took me 3 weeks to run around the block without stopping! When managing, we need to develop the necessary competencies and skills to do the job. It might consist of working with a coach or mentor, taking formal or informal courses or training to bring up our skill level. Even seasoned runners constantly look for ways to improve their times. Personal and professional development is a necessary part of life.

Runners constantly set goals for themselves. The goal might be for an upcoming race, running for charity or running a few minutes longer without stopping for a walk break.  Managers set short and long terms goals for themselves and their staff. The goals could relate to their current position and how they want to strengthen their management style or longer term in their career path or profession. Goals give us a sense of direction and purpose.

When running it is easier to focus on an object and run towards it. It is easier to say, "I need to run to the next street light or the next tree," rather than, "I need to run 10 more miles." They focus on the smaller objects, but every so often they need to look at the horizon. A manager has overall objectives to accomplish which is the broader horizon. Why are we here? What do we need to accomplish? Then they break it down into smaller, manageable chunks.

It takes a team to run a marathon. Thousands of volunteers are along the route, handing out water and cheering the runners. Police make the route safe by blocking traffic. Family and friends provide support so that runners have the time to train, eat properly and rest before the big event. It also takes a team to get our work done. We could try to do everything by ourselves, but many hands make the load easier.

There will be challenges along the way. That’s life. Injuries will happen, shoes will get worn out and temperatures will vary. If we are committed to our goals, we will find a way to deal with the obstacles. Management is not always easy. There will be difficult decisions to make and not everyone will agree with us. But like the runner, focus on what is most important and take one day at a time.

At times training for a marathon may feel like taking 2 steps forward and 1 step backwards. Not every day will be a Personal Record (PR) or Personal Best (PB). As my 91-year old Uncle would say, "The most important thing is to keep moving." One step at a time for a runner or manager. 

We would love to have your feedback! What has been your management (or running) experience? What has worked for you? We would also like to know what have you learned in your journey. Tell us what you have done and the results that were achieved!



Develop Your Management Skills: How to Give Positive Feedback

A question was asked to a group of managers in a training workshop, "In what circumstances should you give positive feedback to your employees, co-workers or clients?" The responses were, "When they have met a major deadline or learned a new task. We also need to provide feedback when a behaviour or positive performance requires reinforcement." Keep mind that we need to recognize the efforts of the hard working, good solid performers. These are the folks that come to work and do their very best, day after day, week after week, and month after month. 

In a coaching role, some people may be uncomfortable with providing feedback, while others are uncomfortable with receiving it.  They just shrug their shoulders and say, “It was part of my job,” and keep their noses to the grindstone.

These are two main steps to follow when giving positive feedback.

1. Statement of Behavior  (What did they do?)

This is an objective, concrete and precise statement of the work done by the person. What did they do that has caught your attention, in a good way?

Impact  (So what?)

This is a brief description of the impact or benefit of their behavior to the other employees, team, organization or client.  


The progress report that you completed was accurate, well presented and completed on time. It made our team look professional and our organization came across as efficient. The client was happy with the results.


Think of one person in your organization that you want to give positive feedback to. Who is the person? What is the behavior statement? What is the impact?

The next step is to share it with the individual. Some people prefer not to say it directly to the person. Here’s a suggestion. Instead, make the object (what they did well) the subject of the positive feedback. Say, "This report is sick, it was very well done, made our team look professional and gave a positive reflection of our unit."

By giving positive feedback, you will be acknowledging the good work performed and motivating them to continue onward. As a management training skills expert, I have experienced many situations in which positive feedback increases job satisfaction and production, and a better use of organizational resources.



Managing Your Time While Waiting For Others

Many of us are reliant on others to provide information to complete our tasks. But how often does our work sit idle, while we are waiting?
In some cases, our deadline may get missed, because we do not have the necessary details to get the work done.
The following are 9 tips to help you save time and get more accomplished:

  1. Make your expectations clear. Communicate what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, why it is needed and how it fits in with the bigger picture. Clearly articulate the expected format.
  2. Explain the impact and importance of their role.
  3. Communicate the timelines of the process.
  4. Keep communication lines open and be available to answer questions.
  5. Build in buffer time. If your report needs to be completed by Friday at noon and you need 2 hours to summarize the details from others, give others a Thursday noon deadline.  If any interruptions come up, you will have some extra time to complete your tasks and still get the report completed on time.
  6. Ensure that references and resources are available.
  7. Have a contingency plan, if the work is not completed in time. For example, keep others informed about the progress and be ready to ask for a deadline extension in extreme cases.
  8. Make certain that there is a current, accurate and well documented process, so information providers don’t get lost trying to figure out complicated processes.
  9. If there is an oversight in the process, find out the cause and implement solutions to ensure that it does not reoccur.

Managing your time while waiting for others involves clear communication with a well documented process and resources readily available. Be sure to give credit to providers of information and celebrate task completion successes.
Other tips to save you more time and energy are available in the Time Management Essentials Workshop: How To Save Time – When You Don’t Have The Time. Learn how to better organize, plan and manage your time, increase productivity, and reduce stress.



7 Ways to Increase Trust in the Workplace

During a management training session, the question was asked, "How important is trust?" Several responses agreed that trust was overwhelming important to the success of an organization. "Without trust, I have nothing. I have complete trust in my employees," said one experienced manager.

Personal experience has shown that trust has a direct relationship to productivity. With high trust, productivity soars, and with a low level of trust, productivity goes down. 

Trust takes time to build, but it can be quickly broken in a matter of minutes. Some indicators of low trust are excessive red tape, extreme bureaucracy, and intense office politics that result in low morale, absenteeism, fraud, disengagement, and staff turnover. So, how do organizations build trust?

Seven ways to increase trust are:

  1. Model Trust - Trust starts at the top with senior leaders and funnels down to managers and supervisors. Senior leaders must have integrity and demonstrate sound values and ethics. They must model trust. Employees will observe and practice the examples set by leaders.
  2. Trust is Reciprocal - In order to build trust, you must trust others. As difficult as it may sound, take a risk (within reason) and place trust in your manager, co-worker or even a teenager! Every time they follow through, your trust will increase. They will take notice and build their level of trust with you. Then the circle of trust will expand.
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.  This is crucial, especially when units are going through change.  According to most employees, the most important thing that they need is the uncompromised truth. Even if the news is bad – they want to know. Tell others what you know and what you don’t know. People cannot get enough information, especially when change is imminent. Don’t hold back, tell them the way it is and you will build trust.
  4. Follow through – Do what you say that you will do. Every time you have a conversation, it will either build or erode trust. 
  5. Ask for help – Admit it, there are times when you need help from others – so seek it out. Encourage others to share their ideas and experience, remember the saying, two heads are better than one. By placing trust in others, it shows that you trust them.
  6. Support – Provide support to others when they need it, but without taking away responsibility. Step back and watch others learn and grow, but step in and respond to their needs when they need encouragement.
  7. Listen with empathy – Be present when listening. Try to understand their feelings and where they are coming from.  

To see how well your team practices trust behaviors, take the Reina team trust quiz at



Develop Your Management Skills Through Employee Engagement

At a recent course, managers were asked to prioritize their top goals for 2013. After brainstorming for a few minutes, the majority indicated that greater employee engagement was one of their most important objectives. Managers agreed that they could be an island of high engagement in a sea of low engagement, but each Manager is responsible for the engagement of their direct reports.
A study by Kenexa, an HR strategy firm, found that of the 64 organizations studied, the organizations with highly engaged employees achieved twice the annual net income of organizations whose employees were less engaged. It is well worth the time and effort.
So, how does a manager foster the right environment for greater staff engagement? According to the Conference Board of Canada, the following are the top 5 factors:

  1. Trust in managers and integrity of management
  2. Nature of the work and involvement in decision making
  3. Being able to see how their performance fits within the bigger picture of the organization’s performance
  4. Opportunities for career growth and development
  5. Pride in the organization
  6. Relationships with co-workers and team members
  7. Personal relationship with direct manager or supervisors

So there you have it folks, 7 ways to obtain increased employee engagement. A manager needs to communicate on a regular basis with staff in other to get their thoughts on their work and workplace. A manager is the main contact between the organization and the employee. If we don’t engage an employee, who will?


The 2 - Minute Briefing

You have spent many hours researching an issue or problem and now it is time to deliver a briefing. You have 15 minutes of information that need to be delivered in 2 minutes.  Properly planning and organizing your approach will give you the results you need.

Determine the purpose of the briefing. Ask yourself, why am I giving this briefing? Is it to make a request, to make a recommendation, to pursuade, or to inform? What do you want the Manager to know, understand, or approve after the meeting? Then determine the type of information you need to supply in order to make this happen.

Consider the Manager's background, experience and context of the information. If they have been updated previously, then you will need less background information and focus more on new details, recommendations and findings. Have an idea of their strategic position, as this will give you an idea of the type of questions they may ask. Consider if they are a big picture or details person. What is your preferred style and how do you adapt your style to meet their needs?

A good verbal briefing is organized into 2 parts: 1) The Request, and 2) The Rationale.

1. The Request
In the first 30 seconds state up front your key point or what you are asking for in the briefing.  Give the importance or relevance of the request.  For example, the purpose of this meeting is to ask for approval to move forward with the expansion plans.

2. The Rationale
The 90 second rationale should include information that is needed for a good quality decision.  Ensure that your background information does not include more than 3 or 4 main points.  Indicate the key points, rationale and justification.  Use signal words such as first, second, next, and the final consideration.  Restate your key point at the ending.

By carefully planning and organizing the briefing, you will be able to state your ideas clearly and concisely, and ultimately achieving the results you desire.

We would love to have your feedback!  Tell us what you have done and the positive results that were achieved!!



9 Tips to Prepare for the Holiday Season

Develop Your Management Skills and Prepare For The Holiday Season

Mary was looking forward to the holiday break. But as the days slipped by, it seemed like she was losing ground. The e-mails kept on coming, the meetings never stopped and staff kept on dropping into her cubicle.

With each day, she was getting more stressed and wondered if she actually could take a week off from the office. In addition to work, she had a long list of social activities and holiday shopping. No wonder why she was feeling more tired in the mornings and had bags under her eyes!

In order to prepare for a peaceful and relaxing Holiday Vacation, these are 9 tips to help manage the demands of your personal and professional life.

  1. Make 2 lists of tasks that MUST be completed between today and the start of your holiday break. Make one for the home/social activities and a second one for business.
  2. Prioritize the tasks in order of importance.  Do the items on the low level of importance really need to be done?
  3. Review the list. Can any of the items be delegated (upwards or downwards), delayed or shared? If so, start the "sharing" process.
  4. Estimate the amount of time your most important tasks will take - now book a meeting with yourself. Block the time and schedule it into your day. (Sorry, no double booking!)
  5. Get all the resources and information you need, before you start your biggest projects, so you don't have to look for it when you are actually ready.
  6. Work on the first item on each list - both at work and at home. Toil on it until it is fully completed. Don't be tempted by distractions! It is amazing how many distractions come our way which eat up valuable time.
  7. Pat yourself on the back for doing the most important priority. There is a great deal of satisfaction involved, when you can check it off as ... DONE! Place the next item in your immediate mindset and give it your undivided attention.
  8. Start new projects when you return from vacation. Give your unconscious mind some time to think about creative solutions to the projects during your time away from your post.
  9. Make note of any outstanding issues before you leave. It will put your mind at ease and help you get organized upon your return.

So there you have it folks, 9 ways to take a break and prepare for the Happy Holidays.



9 "Free" Ways to Show Appreciation to Your Team

Develop Your Management Skills Through Appreciation

People will work for money, but will go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to praise and recognition.

Your management skills are telling you that you would never dream of letting your employees go without a computer or workstation for one day, and certainly not more than one week – but when was the last time that you provided a positive comment to one of your employees or peers? Was it within the last day, last week, or last year? If you gave a recent compliment – that’s wonderful!  Is it something that you do on a regular basis? If this is part of your regular mantra – good for you! Many of us can take lessons from you.

Positive recognition increases motivation, productivity and teamwork. It boosts job satisfaction and personal self worth.

Many Managers would agree that praise and recognition are important, but the problem is that it is too costly. Not true! There are many ways of thanking folks that do not cost anything – other than their time to recognize the good work that others have done.

I am not talking about flattery – but honest, sincere appreciation. Flattery is meant for personal gain and is only words.  Real appreciation comes from the heart and the sender truly means what he or she is saying.

How do you show honest, sincere, genuine appreciation? Tell the other person what you admire about them, the reason why and back it up with a situation when this quality was demonstrated.

Develop your Management Skills - 9 "Free" Ways of Showing Appreciation.

1. Say "thank you" and shake their hand
2. Send an e-mail with an expression of appreciation
3. Post an article in the company newsletter
4. Send a thank you card
5. Host a special celebration or party

  • Happy New Year (When old year in finance is completed!)
  • Potluck meal or coffee and donuts
  • Special theme – Holiday Celebrations

6. Flexible work week or work from home
7. Plum" assignment on a working group or team
8. Special award such as the "top banana", "golden apple" or "employee of the week ... month"
9. Family event such as sleigh ride in the winter or picnic in the summer

Please consider how the event or item will be presented, either in public or private. Managers, you know your employees the best, and what is most suitable.

Now sometimes the other person might be embarrassed by the compliment. (They might not be accustomed to receiving compliments or just shy.) All they need to say is "thank you."

As a management training expert, we did an exercise in which everyone gave a verbal and written compliment to others in their group. Ten years later, class members say that they still have compliment cards in their brief case or desk drawer. Some days, when they are having a difficult time, or their level of confidence needs a boast, they look at the cards and receive an injection of appreciation. These words are worth their weight in gold!


We would love to have your feedback! Tell us what you have done and the positive results that were achieved!!



7 Tips to Clarify Expectations of Your Team

Develop your Management Training Skills – Why Many Managers Fail

Do you know the number one reason why people and teams fail? You have delegated a task to an employee and expect it to be done. Or maybe it’s a chore around the house. It doesn’t make a difference if it involves the preparation of a major report or washing a car by an 8 year old child, there are some fundamentals in how the request needs to be made, according to a management expert and trainer.

As a manager, you have an objective and work plan to achieve the desired results. Your management training skills are probably telling you that delegating is one of the biggest keys to success. So, the tasks are delegated to competent, well-meaning employees, but sometimes the work does not get done according to standard, or maybe not at all. So what went wrong? Could it be in the asking?

According to seasoned managers, the reason why employees fail is due to unclear expectations. The individual or team member merely does not understand fully what needs to be done. Right at the onset, agreement of the expectations must take place. When they accept the work, it means that they understand what needs to be done, how to do it and when it needs to be completed.   

Develop Your Management Training Skills – 7 Steps to Setting Expectations

The following are 7 ways to make your expectations crystal clear with specific questions to ask yourself, by a management expert and trainer.  Additionally, the use of RAPPORT will strengthen the working relationship between yourself and the employee.

  1. Relevant – Is this work relevant to them? Is it important? Would they want to do the work?
  2. Agreed – Has the employee agreed to do the work or meet the goal? Is it a reasonable request?
  3. Precise – Specifically, what needs to be done? Why does it need to be done? In delivering management training, I have discovered that managers often assume that their staff understand the task. While in reality, this is not always true. An explanation of the task will give them a deeper understanding of how it fits into the bigger picture, and how their part fits in. Also, if there is a specific order of the tasks, you need to explain it.  
  4. Pertinent - Is it within their authority? Will they require additional resources, training or support?  
  5. Outcome – How will you know when the job is done properly? What will the outcome look like? What elements will be displayed in the spread sheet? What will the washed vehicle look like?
  6. Realistic – Is this the right person for the job? Is it within their job description? Is someone else better qualified? Do they have the time to fit it in with their other tasks?
  7. Timing – When does this task need to be completed? What is the deadline? Will there be checkpoints along the way? Clarification is needed to ensure that the person knows exactly the timing expectations. For example, close of business by Friday, May 20, 20xx. When working with longer projects, request ongoing progress reports on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This helps you keep on top of the issues and ensures that the project stays on track.

As a management training skills expert, I know that one of the cardinal rules is to clarify, clarify, clarify. Ask the employee to state in their own words their task. Confirm with an e-mail. When the expectations are clear at the onset, then everyone understands what needs to be done. Your job is easy!


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