Fed up with following up on everyone else's deadlines?

Taryn Strugnell, 11 Jan. 2016

Tags: employee deadlines, missing deadlines,

It seems the best way to get an employee to meet a difficult deadline is to threaten him with the nasty consequences of missing it. Doesn't it? And, while this technique does get a lot of attention, to be perfectly honest, it doesn't work very well. And it has undesirable side effects too: Terrorised subordinates.

So through trial and error - and by paying attention to colleagues who are good at this type of thing - I know I can increase my chances of getting employees to do tasks, on time by following the 4 simple points below...

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4 Tips to setting deadlines…

1.    When setting a deadline, always explain why
A study, by Larry Fredericks, shows you can increase compliance dramatically simply by attaching a 'because' clause to the request. Use this trick when giving done-by dates.

Say, 'We need to get this shipment out to the client before Wednesday because she will cancel the order if we can't'.

2.    Get your employee to agree to the date
Say, 'So, John, I can count on you to have this done by the end of the day Thursday. Right?'

Keep reading below for the next 2…

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3.    Record the promise
Once the employee agrees to the deadline , write it down in front of him – send it in an email if you like. When he sees you doing that, he'll know you mean business.

If you assign the task by e-mail, write, 'Thanks, John. I'm putting your commitment to that deadline into my calendar.'

4.    Restate the benefit
End the conversation by saying again why it's so important to have the project done on time.

You could even try this technique to get your rogue manager on track to meet his deadlines!

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