Personal Responsibility

May 30, 2007

As managers a large part of our job involves keeping staff informed and in the loop about various policies, procedures or information that is happening within the department.  I tend to use email to communicate the bulk of my messages to staff, as well as implementing what I hope will become a once a semester full staff meeting.  I hold a supervisors meeting every two weeks where we discuss any issues or news in the department and then disseminate the information to staff.

I also rely on face to face interactions to convey urgent messages.  Things can change so fast sometimes you don’t have time to have a meeting or send an email before staff may need the information you have.  I will often come to the desk and talk to whomever is on and then work my way to offices and try to touch base with as many people as possible.

We also have weekly staff training sessions that are held three times a week so that staff can sign up when they are free to attend.   We also have a staff wiki that houses most of our procedures and policies.  It is a work in progress and wiki training still needs to happen.

But what happens when you have exhausted email, meetings, putting signs up, wiki entries, etc. and the message still doesn’t get across?

At what point as a manager do you draw the line and say, “You’re an adult.  Take some responsibility for finding out the information and ask me or someone else?”  This is a question that I find myself pondering quite a bit lately.

I am wondering if all my communication efforts are not enough and if I should be doing something more and part of me thinks I am doing all I can.  I find this very frustrating and am running out of ideas and answers.

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2 Responses to “Personal Responsibility”

  1. Theodora said

    I completely understand your frustration and feel it too. I follow similar patterns of communicating, and try to convey the important messages using various mediums (email, one-on-one at the right time, in meetings, as well as trying to foster word of mouth among the staff). I’ve often hear that it takes 7 repetitions for something to stick. I try to fall back on that idea to keep myself from getting frustrated, and it works…sometimes. Adult learning theory tells us that hands on learning in practical settings best fosters true learning experiences, so I try to be in the “thick of things” and maximize every teachable moment.
    But I agree, at some point each team member has to take personal responsibility to act within the goals and mission of the team. As managers I think the best we can do is foster an open learning environment that encourages trying new things, celebrating learning from mistakes and developing each person to create a cohesive team that truly embodies customer service. Only then can people take responsibility to develop individually and move the team forward.

  2. Cathy said

    I discuss with my staff what it is they want to know about and to what detail. I then deliver that information to them in the form that they like best, email, print, verbal etc, and as frequently as they want. This then is as far as my responsibility goes. I do not accept from my staff that they do not have time to read something that has been circulated,(whatever information I give verbally is when appropriate backed up with a written version, so that staff who may not have been present at the time of the discussion, are brought up-to-date). I make sure they are given the time. Once they know that they can trust me to deliver the information they then take the responsibility to read it.

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