The Problem with Squishy Answers and How to Stop Them

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Part of the burden of being the boss is making the important decisions: whether it’s necessary to authorize costly overtime to meet a production deadline; if the company should apologize to a customer over a disagreement or stand firm in its position; if a supplier should be replaced; etc.

The Problem with Uncertainty

Effective decision-making requires access to the best-possible information. That’s why it’s so frustrating when managers asking for information from staff hear responses like:

“I think so.”


“It should be.”

These responses not only fail to provide an answer to managers’ questions when making tough decisions but also create additional uncertainty and can raise new questions and concerns.

But often, these are just the kinds of answers bosses will get. Particularly for younger employees or those new to the workforce or to a particular role or organization, it can be scary to make a guarantee or speak with certainty.

It feels much safer to hedge one’s bets with a qualifier or to act as an adviser pointing out a consideration as opposed to an authority educating others.

Why You Should Expect Confident Responses

Understandably, inexperienced staff are often genuinely unsure of the answer to a question that’s posed to them. And while it’s OK to not always know the answer, it’s not always OK to leave the inquiry at “I think so.”

Instead, employees need to own the question and work to find a more concrete answer. Anything less is effectively passing the assignment back to the boss who asked the question in the first place, putting the burden on him or her to fill in the gaps.

Employers shouldn’t expect inexperienced staff to always have all the answers. But they should expect them to make the judgments they were hired to make, if that is indeed part of their job description.

And as employees grow and develop, they need to understand that the qualifications for advancement will generally include the ability to absorb and process facts and act or draw conclusions decisively. Continue reading here…

The post The Problem with Squishy Answers and How to Stop Them appeared first on HR Daily Advisor.

Source: HR Daily Advisor

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