clarity in the workplace

Nearly every morning this is what we wake up to. I hear it’s called a marine layer although sometimes I think it’s just fog. It rolls in early morning and is all we can see when we walk out onto our deck. Someone who has not spent a whole day in our home might think we were duped when they sold us an “ocean view”.

But then.

The sun comes out. The fog starts to roll inland where it dissipates. Minute by minute the view becomes more crisp. The ocean becomes clearer and the reason we chose this house becomes evident.

Because when the fog is gone, the view is amazing. IMG_1347

By the time I step outside to pace our deck for my first call of the day (I’m not the only one who paces while on the phone am I), this is what I see. Each and every time I take a deep breath and stare at it for just a moment thankful for the clarity.

Clarity really is an amazing thing.

I believe an opportunity exists in workplaces for more clarity. Clarity of expectations. Clarity of vision. Clarity of struggles and opportunities to do better. I believe that often problems that derive from miscommunication is brought by a lack of clarity during the original discussion. This could be from leader to employee, company to client, or employee to employer.

We have a tendency to move very fast. Everything feels urgent all of the time and when we are rushing we unconsciously make the decision to shortcut our communication. We give direction as high level as possible and expect employees to fill in the blanks. We cast a very wide vision for our company and hope that everyone can read between the lines as to how that vision relates to their role. We talk in circles on sales calls and expect people to “peel the onion” to uncover the information they really need because if they don’t, we are not giving it to them.

We are very unclear.

I really think this hurts business but particularly those in leadership roles. It causes not only miscommunication that I’ve already mentioned, but also causes employees to have to do work over again because they weren’t given clear direction in the first place. It creates too many opportunities that require clarification to get everyone on the same page. It causes meetings that have to be repeated because individuals weren’t clear the first time.

Are you with me?

I have no three-step plan for being more clear. I think it’s something we must be mindful of and deliberate about. We must continually check for clarity and make sure that people fully understand what we are asking them to do. We shouldn’t put all the onus on them to make sure they ask the right questions, we should help them understand by being crystal clear with our intentions.

Think about situations in your past and I’m sure some of them could have been avoided had someone in the group been more clear. Now think about how you are going to be more deliberate in you communication about ensuring your audience has clarity over what you expect.

Better and more thorough communication can never be a bad thing.