This post is for everyone how is currently working with me, or is thinking about working together with me in the future. The goal is for you to already know what I expect or how I expect matters to be handled. That of course does not mean that I won’t adapt myself or that this is set in stone for eternity. As I am growing, learning and developing myself – this is bound to change and develop.
Why then set this out into the world? First and foremost this is something for myself to reflect against and take into consideration when starting to work with new colleagues. I definitely do not expect for everybody to read or even know that this exists. I believe that especially starting new somewhere comes with challenges in communication. And the more transparent both side can make their expectations, the easier and smoother the on boarding for both sides will be. The challenge in this case, at least in my experience, has always been that it’s hard, really hard, to formulate ones specific expectations in general points. So even if the expectations on both side differ extremely it would be great to talk about that as early as possible, so that at least I know that in this regard, I might need to handle things different than I would normally do. No harm done!
So let’s dive right in:
Treat me the same way you would be like to be treated – that one should be common sense, but I do believe it covers most misunderstandings. As it does not only cover our verbal communication, be polite, be helpful, let the other speak out, hear and consider the arguments brought forward, but it does also cover that before you hand over work to me, make sure that I have all information that I need to do my work. That goes neatly along with my next point:
The precessor is responsible for handing over the task to the next person – it is very common in our specialized work environment that a goal cannot be reached by one alone but will be divided into tasks that are handed over to the next person. What I cannot tolerate is persons that just do they work but do not know or think about how the next person will / has to use their work. It is my responsibility to make sure that my task is completed in a way that the next person has the least effort to continue working on it. And I am responsible for making sure, that I know her needs before I complete my task.
If you have a problem, try and solve it yourself and tell me what you have tried – often people come to me and ask me for my advise on topics that are not even not my expertise but where they should be the experts in and have all the detailed knowledge. This is especially frustrating to me as after a few quick random questions it seems the person has not thought about any solutions himself but expects me to solve it for him. I am very aware of this and will send you back to work on your problem yourself first. If you have made a good effort and still cannot figure out the best solution, and need a sparring partner, I will gladly tell you my opinion and how I would tackle the situation. Only always keep in mind that you should be the expert.
Ask questions, even if you have understood everything
Questions are a sign of intelligence and understanding. So I will always ask questions to make sure that I have got the points correctly. This rhetorical method also helps me decide on many things among others priority, goal and relation to other work. If I haven’t asked any questions, but done the work wrongly this is fully my fault.
In communication always the sender is responsible for making the points clear
This contradicts a little the point above: I do believe strongly that the sender is responsible for the listener to understand her points, but this of course bases on a very important premise: the listener has to make a good effort to understand you! But if that effort is genuine, the sender has to take into consideration the circumstances in regard to background, motivation, etc. This points goes directly to most excuses in the form of “I did tell him that, but he still doesn’t do it”. It is then your responsibility to make sure that your point sticks.
Take notes in Meetings
I will not take you seriously if you are assigned tasks in meetings and you don’t take notes. I myself have a very bad memory to start with, but even if you have a great memory, I do not believe that you can remember everything from a meeting and crucially follow up on the tasks in time.
You ca always put me in CC of emails in matters that are related to me in any way, I do not mind
This is a working document, version 2018/11/25