What message are you sending when you don’t follow-up on a request? We often hear about the follow-up from a customer service perspective. Let’s talk about it from a manager and employee perspective.
As a manager or an employee, when you tell someone you are going to do something, then you need to take the accountability to follow up. Accountability is one of those key management traits that will set you light years apart with your peers and will demonstrate that you mean what you say to your employees.
Lead by example, if you are accountable to others you can hold them accountable. This is also a good way to build your reputation as being reliable.
It’s easy to follow up and hold ourselves accountable when it’s good news. But what about bad news or no news? This is where we tend to fall down. You have to tell someone bad news or follow up to a question that you don’t have the answer to yet. It’s uncomfortable to have to have that conversation. Maybe even a little embarrassing since you forgot to do something you said you would.
What is the Impact?
On the person who needs to follow up:
The longer you wait, the more awkward and uncomfortable it becomes. It then becomes harder and harder to reach out and follow up. You begin to think of all the reasons the other person is going to push back, be angry and make you feel terrible for not following up when you said you would. So you keep putting it off since you do not want to put yourself in that position.
On the person waiting for the follow up:
Without any follow up the person waiting on the follow-up begins to think about all the reasons why you’re not getting back to them with an answer. The reasons begin to get bigger and bigger and the imagination begins to take over. Now the stewing begins and those thoughts keep building to imagine the worse possible reasons for not getting a response.
How much time have both people spent thinking about it? What about the loss of productivity? What does it do to your reputation?
Think about a time it’s happened to you. What was the worse thing that happened when you followed up when you said you would? Even with bad news? It’s like ripping a band-aid off. Just do it. Both parties will be much happier in the long term.
This is one of those easy things to do and can build so much good will. What will you follow up on today that you have been putting off?
If following up is an area you need to work on, we can help. We work with managers who need help, support and strategies to improve skills and behaviors.