I am learning to hate the phrase “We need to (fill in the blank)”. Whenever a leader says (or writes) that expression, it communicates an intention or desire without any specific assignment of responsibility.
“We” don’t do tasks. “You” or “I” do tasks.
Yes – we can do tasks together….and we are often more effective when we do. But it is rare for tasks to be completed correctly, on time, and under budget without someone being specifically responsible.
I suppose that the use of “we” became popular because it felt more inclusive…and softer than a direct command. And, it’s easy to understand when you are my boss and there is no one else in the room.
But, the next time you need to assign a task and are speaking to more than one person, tell us:
- Who is responsible for the task?
- When it is due?
- What specifically needs to be done?
- How much money can I spend?
Don’t email blast a group with generic ideas of what “we” should do. If you have authority, then assign someone responsibility. If you don’t have authority, then at least be specific on what you are asking from me.
Thanks for listening.
PS: I am not pointing at my boss…and this is not a rant. 🙂