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In management, once is not enough

By | David Klaasen | Helping You Create Clarity, Inspire Your People & Drive Performance | Retain your best people | Changing Management Mindsets and Behaviour | Practical Behaviour Analytics

Are you falling into the trap of telling your people only once and assuming that they will then diligently get on with your request? How do you ensure that your requests stay at the top of their list of priorities? Are you taking your power for granted?

In the modern workplace we are all inundated with hundreds of demands from clients and customers as well as colleagues and managers. They are all competing for our attention and we constantly have to juggle priorities. There is now scientific evidence to prove that effective managers say the same thing at least twice, if not more.

With or without power

Tsedal Neeley is an Assistant Professor in the Organizational Behaviour area at Harvard Business School. She recently researched the communication patterns of 13 Project Managers in six companies for more than 250 hours. What she found is the most effective managers were not complacent about communication and didn’t expect people to get it first time. They were politely persistent and used a number of different media. Managers who assumed that because they had direct power (i.e. they were a line manager) they did not need to communicate as frequently and would get frustrated by the number of deadlines missed or targets not met. They were assuming that their power was enough.

“Those without power were much more strategic, much more thoughtful about greasing the wheel” to get buy-in and to reinforce the urgency of the previous communication, Neeley says. “Managers without authority enrol others to make sense of an issue together and go for a solution.”

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