A friend of mine, who is a referral marketing expert, says that in order to be terrific, you need to be specific. He suggests that business professionals who want to do business by referral are often far too general in their requests of other people.
Leaders (supervisors, managers, team leaders etc.) are often guilty of the same crime when communicating expectations to their people. Instead of saying, “You’ve missed your sales quota by 10% last month”, a sales manager calls the sales person into the office and starts the conversation by saying, “We need to talk about your numbers for last month. They are a little off the mark.”
Likewise, instead of saying, “You need to greet visitors with a smile; You need to look up from your desk when a customer enters the store” the manager tells the employee, “You need to be friendly.”
A disconnect will occur if the employee has a different definition of the term ‘friendly’ than the manager does. This is true when describing behavior that is negative as well. What do we mean when we tell someone they are careless, or slow, or ineffective?
Clearly describe the behavior you want and the behavior you don’t want. Clear language improves the chances the employee will carry out your performance expectations.
Try it this week and post below to let me know how it goes. Or, leave me an example of where you have seen clear language (or not) in the workplace and how it turned out.