They Set the Date
They Set the Date

They Set the Date

A great leadership adage goes, “If I tell you, I still own it. If you tell me, you own it.” If we as leaders say, “Get this done by Wednesday,” then they can feel very justified in thinking, “No way; can’t be done. Or it’ll be done poorly. You just don’t understand reality.”

On the other hand, we can ask, “By when could you get that done to this level of quality?” What will they think of the time commitment that they set? Excitement? Enthusiasm? Even joy? Perhaps. It’s not a guarantee, but they will be much more likely to follow through as promised.

If we absolutely need it by a certain date, we can ask something like, “With how much quality can you complete that by this date?” Or if date and quality are important, we ask, “What (resources) would you need (including, perhaps, re-prioritizing other work) to complete that by this date and with this quality?”

State what you need; let them delight in owning and delivering the rest.


In your corner,


PS: Now, if they push back on what you’re asking for, listen. They may know something important that you need to know.

Today’s photo credit: plenty.r. cc

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