Rigid structure smothers trust and creativity, but when your agreements with yourself or others are unclear, you may not get desired results.
This was reinforced by a recent experience I had overseeing several high schoolers. It had been a minute since I’d played a direct supervisory role, much less with temp/un-salaried employees, and there was schooling in both directions: A helpful reminder to set clear standards and document up front.
It’s important to give others autonomy and a chance to step up, but handing tasks over and giving the benefit of the doubt isn’t enough when you’re responsible for results. Everyone’s assumptions, situations and personal standards are different.
Clear agreements + accountability don’t have to be harsh or especially complicated. It’s saying what’s so, what you want to be so, and upholding the consequences agreed to.
Clear agreements clear the fog of hidden assumptions, leaving simplicity or at the very least, facts. You can think of agreements as a sturdy sandbox to play in or rules of engagement. It doesn’t mean doubting someone’s abilities, intentions, or micromanaging. It just means you have standards and boundaries and you are standing for them (as well as for the other party to hold up their end).
Interested in learning more about agreements in working relationships? Check out this brilliant 30 minute back to basics talk.
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