A father is with his young son and his son goes around the corner where the father can’t see him.

The father goes to the get the boy, brings him back to where they were standing before and tells the boy, “Don’t go around the corner.”

The boy smiles and says “Okay.”

Much to the father’s dismay, the young boy keeps going around the corner and the father becomes angry and frustrated until he finally yells at his son “I told you not to go around the corner!”

Crying the boy looks up at his father and asks, “What’s a corner?”

Understanding is a critical element of effective communication.

While you clearly know what you want to communicate, that doesn’t guarantee that the other person will get it, does it? Sometimes your team members don’t follow through and do what you expected them to do.

Here are some easy things you can to to help minimize these occurrences.

– Involve the other person in the process
When someone is involved in identifying what needs to be done and how to get it done, they feel respected and valued and become more invested in the entire process.

– Be clear about what is to be done
Communicate specifically what you expect to receive from the other person. Giving someone general direction, when you have a specific end result in mind, is just asking for trouble. While including them in the what and how of getting the task done is encouraged, be sure they are clear about what you ultimately expect them to accomplish.

– Set a deadline
Work with the other person to set a mutually agreeable deadline. Be sure to follow-up with them before the deadline to answer questions and provide further direction.


John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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