Effective leaders value clarity

Few things are more energizing than leaving a productive meeting with your team, set ablaze with fresh ideas that will set the wheels in motion. You’re ready to go. Your team is ready to go. You’ve established MT goals and are ready to tackle the world.

It’s a great feeling. Until something, somewhere, gets a little hazy.

Clarity, a close cousin to specificity, is a valuable follow-through quality that can easily get lost in a drive of enthusiasm. Clarity ensures that everyone is on the same page. While specificity identifies important information (like who is doing what and when it’s due), clarity ensures all of the questions are answered before anyone even gets started.

Clarity especially falls victim to team-wide meetings when everyone seems like they’re in sync. Once the group thinks everyone understands the situation and expectations involved, a false sense of clarity abounds and no one asks clarifying questions (either because they think they already know the answer, or worse, they think they’re the only one who doesn’t understand and don’t ask out of fear).

So how can you avoid falling into a haze of uncertainty? Follow-up.

After the meeting has concluded, make sure note or minutes with action items go out within 24 hours if possible. Encourage team members to respond with questions, additions or changes from their own recollections. It can only add to the picture.

Make a habit of rounding (a term made popular by the health-care industry, meaning “walk around and talk with your people”) with team members individually before due dates. One-on-one conversations create a safer environment for asking questions. (Once this is a habit, and therefore an expectation, debriefing can be a valued time for feedback for both parties.)

If common themes emerge during debriefing, share these with the entire team. (If a piece of information you THINK everyone would benefit from knowing, share that, too.)

Clarity keeps the energy of productivity going. It’s anticipatory of questions that can arise down the line.

Make clarity a priority and your results (and your team) will benefit.


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