This morning I listened to the Career Tools podcast on following up to ensure tasks are completed. 

I've learned the hard way how necessary following up is. As the adage goes "people don't do what is EXPECTED, they do what is INSPECTED"

What are your thoughts on the most effective way to follow up? Do you think it is more effective to follow up by phone instead of email?

I have a poor performer on the team in a non-profit organization and it's been very challenging to get him to follow through.

lar12's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Go see the person.

There are times when a simple phone call or email will get the results you need.  However, when that doesn't work, I make a trip to see the individual.  I sit down and have a conversation about whatever is going on.  We could talk about kids or football or foreign policy, anything.  At some point I work into the conversation the task. I ask how it's going, are there any issues. Finally, I ask for a commitment to deliver "X" by "Y".  

I've learned that this method does a couple of things. First, it allows me to continue to grow the relationship. Second, I can be intimidating. By having a conversation and working the "follow up" into that conversation, I put the other individual at ease and more prepared to work with me.  I believe that role power can be detrimental to the relationship and the organization, so I try to limit the times when I use it.

GlennR's picture

I'd like to up vote the suggestion Lar12 made. I'm not going to add anything; it stands on its own.

mark_odell's picture

Lars12 has a good approach.

I would only like to add a comment about how to track things you are waiting for.  Outside of projects and recurring deliverable I ask for a whole host of discrete tasks that my team (or others) have agreed to to for me.  I have created a very simple table in Evernote (link below) which I use to track them.  I refer back to this everyday so I always know what is due.  

People soon get accustomed to the fact I won't forget something they agreed, so the need to actually follow up that often is reduced.


Chief Executive, Connect Support Services Ltd. - London based cloud & traditional IT services for SMEs -

cynaus's picture
Training Badge

Also agree with Lars. You can follow up in your O3.... also thanks to Mark for sharing your template. I've saved it directly to my Evernote account and will use this very soon.  I've just been advised I'll be leading our HR team upon the resignation of our manager and this will be helpful.



DRD282's picture
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 I just listened to the "Assign Work AND Reporting" cast and it seems to address what you're saying, I think . I have not yet listened to the cast you're referring to, so I may be off base here. But take a look/listen. It's basically about making it standard expectation that the work is only complete if and only if it is reported in the format you agree to, so that you don't have to go chasing down deliverables.