I recently had a thought.
I know, shut up.
My thought was this – Any task you request of someone, you should send in writing.
The reasoning behind it is that, although you may think you were clear in your verbal communication, putting it into writing solidifies the request enough that the chances are much greater that you will be understood. On top of that, now there is a paper trail and a conversation can be had if more clarity is needed. It gives the team member something to refer back to.
But more than anything – it makes sure both you and your team member know what you are asking of them.
It’s something I have down as a goal to do more. I think it’s more fair to my team. Also, by sending requests in an email, I can include my task management system (Todoist) as a recipient. This adds the request to my task list so I make sure and follow up. If I get the syntax right, I can even tag it as “followup” and add a due date.
Since I am a bit of a verbal thinker, I will usually assign tasks in a meeting or in person, and then follow up with an email reiterating that task. Both my team and I get the benefit of being able to process that information by hearing and reading – which should aid in retention. Good things all around.