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Speak up! Your team members aren’t mind readers

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I don’t know your team, but I know they can’t read your mind.

I often speak to managers who’re frustrated that their people aren’t doing what they need them to.

Me: “Have you told them exactly what you need from them?”

Them: “Well, I’ve spoken about things like X and Y. And the general importance of Z”

Me: “Ok, have you told them specifically what outcome you require on this?”

Them: “No, but I think they should know about this stuff”.

Whether they should or not, if they don’t, they don’t.

And better to be helpful than right.

When someone isn’t doing what we need them to, there are only three possible reasons:

  1. Because they don’t know what we want of them
  2. Because they’re incapable of doing it
  3. Because they don’t want to

For whatever reason, we seem to instinctively assume (3).

Often, it’s simply (1).

So, better to speak up and ask directly what we want of people.

This gives them the chance to impress us.

Which is a far better outcome than sitting around resenting them for not reading our mind.