Inspect What You Expect
Good management during a crisis or emergency requires that you Inspect what you Expect. This is so much more than just a cliché. It is an actual strategy for organizing projects and establishing an effective leadership style. It is easy to bark out orders to your team. It’s even easier to send out directions via email, but how do we make sure that what we believe is being done, actually gets accomplished? Figuring out if your expectations are being met requires a couple steps, and if followed, can help make sure that loops are closed and things are happening in the manner you anticipated.
First, you have to make sure that there is clear communication occurring on the front end. This requires some type of comprehensive manual or set of policies that outline your expectations. Taking the time to catalog and record your procedures creates standardization and continuity that will make your life so much easier down the road.
Secondly, you need to get into the trenches with the troops. This is difficult for a lot of managers, but you must get out of your chair, walk around and talk to your team. This will allow for any potential variations to be quashed early on in the process. Also, make sure that you are inquiring about how the project is going. Your team will appreciate the guidance. Ask specific questions about things related to your expectations and you will keep the project moving in the right direction.
Finally, when the project is over, a debrief is always a good idea. Ask your team what went right, what went wrong, and what could be done better. This will allow you to tweak the process so it is even better next time.
Good management of a project or an office is a lot more than making orders and pushing out demands. An effective leader is always looking for ways to do it better and more efficiently. You must always be inspecting what you expect. You owe it to your team and to those you serve.