Rock Products

JAN 2013

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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Set Your Employees Up For Success With New Assignments A Solid Discussion Up-Front Will Increase Their Confidence And Reduce Mistakes. By Steve Schumacher Over the years, one of the things I have noticed about managers is that they do not do a very good job of giving their employees new assignments. Man‐ agers, generally, have gotten better at delegating assignments and believing in empowering their employees. Unfortunately, they tend to be in a hurry and do not spend enough time upfront to ensure that the employee understands the assignment clearly. There are several reasons for this: n Managers are in a rush and will not take the time to have a meaningful discussion. n Employees want to show their boss that they can do the assign‐ ment with little direction. n Priorities are constantly changing and managers know that giving a lot of direction may be a waste of time because the whole assignment may change quickly. n Employees are afraid of asking a lot of questions for fear of looking incapable. The payoffs in taking the time to send an employee off on a new assignment effectively are many: n It will set the employee on the right path toward a goal. n Clear, specific targets for performance can be set. n An opportunity to plan for potential obstacles. n Establishment of clear responsibilities in each area of the assignment. n Ensures that the employee knows how the assignment contributes to the organization's goals. To have an effective meeting, when giving a new assignment, follow these steps: 32 ROCKproducts • JANUARY 2013 1. State the purpose of the meeting. Be very clear with the employee why you are meet‐ ing with them. Let them know why you are asking them to take on the new assignment. If you can, tell them you want to dis‐ cuss the assignment with them in advance of the meeting. That will give them time to mentally prepare. Steve Schumacher is a management consultant, trainer and public speaker with more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries throughout North America, including aggregates operations. He can be reached at 2. Describe the task, the results expected, and why the task is important. Make it crystal clear to the em‐ ployee what exactly it is you are asking them to do. Simply because it is clear in your mind, does not mean they see it the same way. If you have some quantifiable out‐ come you are seeking, share that with the employee. They will be more motivated if they have a scoreboard. Let them know why this assignment is important to you, your department, the company, etc. 5. Agree on an action plan. This step is crucial. Do not leave the meeting until you both have agreed on Who does What by When. Do not run the risk of leaving the discussion with one perception and the em‐ ployee having a different one. 3. Discuss how the employee will accomplish the assignment. The key word here is "discuss." Get their ideas on how they see the assignment being com‐ pleted. Work with them on identify‐ ing what resources they will need, the time they need, and any extra help they may need from you. 6. Encourage the employee. This is your opportunity to be a cheerleader. Tell the employee that you have faith in their ability. Make sure they hear that you are available to assist, if needed. It is important that the employee feels confident. Showing your support and availabil‐ ity will help. 4. Discuss any potential barriers. Ask the employee what they see as the challenges to getting this assignment completed success‐ fully. You may know all of the barri‐ ers and challenges, but asking them to identify them will develop buy‐in and ownership on their part. 7. Set a follow-up time. Get out your calendars and set up a time to get back together. That will be an opportunity for you to check on their progress and add any coaching that is necessary. People do not be‐ come perfect overnight, so set a time to do any mid‐course corrections that may be necessary.

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