As leaders, we all love having those employees who we really value, that go the extra mile and do a great job on every assignment and project that we give them.
However, have you ever had someone not only go the extra mile, but also get lost along the way? Their intentions were good, but their results were really bad.
The below video is hilarious, but makes a great point as well. If you have ever watched “The Office” you know that Dwight is an extra mile kind of employee.
Given the task of doing a fire safety talk the since they didn’t pay attention to his “talk.”
Great idea since experience is a much better teacher than a lecture, right? And the fact that Dwight wants to help the staff really understand the importance of fire safety and is still thinking about ways to make the learning transfer is a good idea as well, right?
Most likely you agree with both questions. However, Dwight Schrutes extra effort goes terribly wrong and creates the very thing he is trying to prevent—a big full blown hazard.
While those we lead may never cause the stir that Dwight does by going the extra mile, there are times we need to “reel in” someone who has gone down a path and got lost.
Have you ever had an employee, for example, with the intention of really impressing you with their new assignment or project, but instead did something completely different than what you expected (I’m not talking about something positive)?
Here are three tips on getting what you expect and preventing employee enthusiasm from turning into a long term disaster:
1. Check for knowledge and skills. Ensure those you are giving an assignment or project to have the proper knowledge and skills. Throwing someone out of the nest without checking whether they can fly is not only asking for poor results, but is unfair as well.
If there is a gap in an employees knowledge and/or skills, take the time to get them the proper training or references to learn. On the job training is fine, but you can’t expect a beginning pianist to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata when all they have learned up to that point is Chopsticks.
2. Lay out clear expectations and goals. If you tell the person you are giving the assignment to, to start rowing, but they are unsure of where they are going—they are inevitably going to head the wrong direction.
Any assignment you give must have clear expectations and goals. Once you explained what the expectations and goals are, check and recheck for understanding.
3. Inspect what you expect. If you aren’t checking from time to time on the progress of an assignment or project you have given, you might find yourself unnecessarily putting out a big fire. Regularly inspect what you expect and you can stop a fire before there is even smoke.
As you regularly inspect, take the time to praise what is going well. With all inspection you must provide feedback—both positive and constructive.
Please enjoy the following video and feel free to share it with your team(s) 🙂 It’s a great lesson in going the extra mile and enthusiasm for a task, but also the need for strong and clear communication.
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