Delivering The Task - "Deskside
Sssshh. Work happening here.
The secret building with the long secret hallway to the ultra secret room, and there it sat. The secret case with the secret recording containing the top-secret instructions. This is the part where the Mission Impossible music plays in the background and you have 5 seconds to comprehend your assignment before the tape recorder self-destructs.
Delivering a task, though not generally as painful as delivering bad news, can, and should be conveyed with tact and finesse. Is this necessary always? Not unless you want to have things accomplished to the very best of someone's ability it isn't. Orders or requests. Involvement or disconnect. Actions or misgivings. Guidance or ambiguity. The way the message is delivered is as important as the message itself sometimes, perhaps even more so.
Are you a manager?
There is a huge difference between telling someone what to do and getting them actively engaged in working on something willingly. Having employees work FOR you is not the same as having them work WITH you. Your goal is to transform the former into the latter. It is your job to create an effective Deskside Manner. Like the doctor not considering the entire patient but only dealing with the ailment, you miss an opportunity to treat the person if you kick out job activities like blasts from a "to-do" shotgun. Firing off tasks and responsibilities in this way does little to make them, the tasks or the people, seemingly a part of the overall goal of building and running a successful project or business.
In life there are always things we do not want to do. I do not want to do laundry, and yet it keeps coming back. I do not want to clean out the rain gutters of leaves and yet it must be done. I do not want to pay for dry cleaning or iron my clothes and yet I do like looking good. None of this is neither here nor there however. We do these things because they are part of the larger picture, of our lives, and of our workplace lives. Not all tasks are pleasant but all should have a means to an end.
Oftentimes, mundane or downright unpleasant tasks can be made that much better by being framed correctly. Often this "right framing" is little more than candid reason for doing something that needs be done. Does this mean we have to get "all holistic" with each and every employee and explain to the infinitesimally smallest iota how he or she is to do his or her job? No, that would be micromanagement and that disease is a manager killer to be discussed on another day. Does it mean we have to provide more information that we have time to or really want to divulge, because we're not babysitting over here? Nope. Doesn't mean that either.
Delivering tasks to people effectively means doing a few things right:
Synonyms for tasks in my thesaurus come up as errands, farm duties, and everyday jobs. Obviously these are to be considered menial in nature, and yet the tasks you ask employees to do are not always thus. Balancing the budget, marketing a new product to a unique demographic, researching a new technology infrastructure patent, or allocating resources for a multimillion-dollar initiative are all tasks, depending on how you look at it.
Getting your people to perform is as easy as giving orders too, I guess, depending on how you look at it. Buy in, enthusiasm, encouragement, shared information, teamwork. Just vocabulary words perhaps, depending on how you look at it.
People Notion, www.peoplenotion.com,
Daniel Houck is co-founder of People Notion, Company Culture Architects! a performance management training firm that works with some of the best companies in the world, and with those aspiring to be. People Notion specializes in helping people and companies determine their highest expectations and then surpass them.
As a motivational speaker, consultant and writer he moves senior executives and their staffs to shatter the illusion that success, measured by joining people with ROI is not possible. Contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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