Just to set things straight from the start, this blog is not about the glass ceiling. I strongly believe in the right-skilled person in the right position, irrespective if this person is male, female or anything in between.
No, when writing the title, I was more thinking about the following little scene.
Wife: “Honey, could you vacuum the living room please?”
“Sure Love!” says the husband and immediately gets right to it.
Ten minutes later he is putting away the vacuum cleaner, proud of the great work he has done for the wife.
But instead, his wife is disappointed. “While you were at it, why didn’t you also do the hallway and the kitchen?”
I am not sure if it sounds familiar to you, but I have seen this happen in several households.
The key of the message is the assumption of the person giving an instruction that the executer will understand all implied requirements.
This is something that mothers tend not to do with their children. They want their children to learn, and therefore try to be as explicit as possible.
Does that mean we all have to become micro-managers? Not at all!
As we all know, micro-management tends to lead to frustration for both parties.
The key message for good management is to be as clear and explicit as possible about the end-requirements. Focus on the “what” has to be accomplished (not necessarily the “how”) and never assume that the person/team carrying out the assignment will understand or figure out any implied outcomes.
After all, we all know what happens when we “ass-u-me”.