Essential Management Skill: Follow Up

Essential Management Skill: Follow Up
September 3, 2012 Leslie Juvin-Acker

Have you noticed after a friend or colleague asks for help and you agree or have followed through with your part, they fall off the face of the map? Time goes on and still no follow-up. You or someone you have done this to is left hanging waiting to hear from you. As a consequence, relationships and trust fall apart.

What Is Follow Up?

Following up is a communication and leadership skill that often goes neglected and under exercised.  Follow up is done by simply returning calls, emails, and closing conversations with appropriate endings or updates that all parties in involved can take away a mutual understanding.

When used constructively, following up keeps people informed and helps others feel as if projects and situations are properly handled and concluded. Proper follow up shows consideration for others’ time, resources, and relationships. On the personal side,  this could even be said for even following up with friends and family to thank them for gifts and kindness.

What Happens When We Don’t Follow Up?

When we don’t follow up with others, it appears rude, arrogant, and inconsiderate of the time and feelings of others. Others can interpret this behavior as self-centered and displays a “what’s in it for me” attitude. People are left feeling frustrated, angry, and confused by our miscommunication.

How Can I Ensure I Follow Up?

Follow up is essential. Especially in a timely matter – as soon as you receive a note, get more news, make progress or learn of obstacles. If you’re worried about a time, just follow up as quickly as you can. Keep others in the look with small notes and communications. Follow up doesn’t take much time – just a few minutes at least – to make calls, send notes and finish or continue conversations. When it comes to a tough project or situation, and little has progressed or things are moving slowly, give others a heads up.

Take a few minutes to send a quick email or message to keep your colleagues or friends or family. Call them with news – positive or negative – it doesn’t matter – follow up helps us continue to resolve problems and situations. The point of following up is to either create endings or make steady progress that everyone can feel good about. Mutual understanding is key. By avoiding and ignoring others, we close off our awareness of the negative image and lack of communication skills we possess as your lack of follow up is a representation of your relationship and leadership skills.

Following up is an essential skill to resolve problems, maintain strong relationships, and communicate ourselves clearly and positively.