Here is the list of answers I am getting most of the time when asking about progress on our projects:
“I’ve sent them an e-mail”
“They didn’t pick up a phone”
“They said they will call us back”
“I am waiting for them to xyz”
Sounds familiar? This is thinking of people who consider sending email their job. They don’t realise that sending email is not work. Sending email will not get you job done. Their job is get shit done. Sending email should help them but it is not end of it.
Questions You Should Ask Your Employees
It is your duty as people manager not to let them get away with these lame excuses.
This is time for small questions.
“Did you file papers we need for building new storage?”
“Yes, we did. Now we’re waiting for approval”
Here, you can leave it at that and wait.
I tend to ask questions:
“What is the statutory period for them to send us the papers?”
“Do you know person responsible and have contact?”
“Did you talk to that person?”
“Is there anything we can do to speed up the process?”
and so on… I can get pretty annoying asking so many questions.
My objective here is simple:
i) for person to realise he/she can and should do much more than wait
ii) make him/her go deeper into issue vs only scratching surface (be owner of the problem)
iii) help them realise that their job is only done when they have papers in hand
If you ask these questions all the time, your people will get used to it and will expect it. That will make them prepare answers and thus digging deeper into what they do.
Always make sure your people understand what is the end result of the project, task you give them. They need to know that until this is reached, job is not done.