“Call if you have any questions,” is often the closing comment for an onboard experience for a new employee. This short phrase of six little words could be the first step to failure for a newly hired or recently promoted individual.
As the supervisor or the team leader, it appears that we are always available: “Just call,” “Call anytime, day or night,” “I always have my phone with me.”
Time goes by, critical deadlines are missed or errors develop in work product. As the leader is faced with correcting mistakes and missed deadlines, the question hangs in the air: “Why don’t they call?”
If we consider the psychology in this situation, we have created an environment where our new employee must ask for help. Essentially, they are admitting a frustration or a failure. We have created a win-lose proposition. The employee has lost, they must ask for help. Call the supervisor, admit the shortcoming and the answer will be given to you. A win for the supervisor, they’ve “helped.” As leaders, if we anticipate deadlines and scheduled completion dates, offering help and assistance in advance, we build confidence for our new employee.
The key is in the quality or content of the question. Asking yes and no questions will not provide much information. With an open-ended question such as “How can I assist you?” we can learn more about the situation.