Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed To Do

One of my favorite books about managing employee performance is a little gem called, Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed to Do … and what to do about it, by Ferdinand Fournies.
For those of you quick to point fingers: no, it’s not because employees are incompetent or lazy (at least not in most cases). It’s because managers don’t do what they’re supposed to do … and don’t even know they’re not doing it.
So what is the “it” that managers are supposed to do? Based on the actual experiences of 25,000 managers, Fournies devotes a full seven chapters of his book – and it seems almost silly writing this – to conveying clear and credible goals and expectations:

  • They don’t know why they should do it
  • They don’t know how to do it
  • They don’t know what they are supposed to do
  • They think your way will not work
  • They think their way is better
  • They think something else is more important
  • No one could do it

I could go on to the other chapters but I won’t. If I did you’d take what you just read for granted.
Leaders! Don’t assume that your people understand where your organization is headed, why and how! Don’t assume they are crystal clear about what is expected of them, why and how! And don’t assume that what you communicate is credible!
Yes, you must clearly communicate. And, yes, you should repeatedly communicate using a variety of channels and media. But one-way communication is not enough. Active engagement is critical. What did they hear? What do they remember? What do they think? How do they feel?
Get back to basics. Relentlessly communicate. If it doesn’t feel like you’re communicating too much, then you’re not communicating enough.
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