• Nancy Riopel

How To Get Employees To Meet Deadlines

Updated: May 10

I had a discussion with a client this morning about whether or not a supervisor should apply deadline pressure on their employees...


The discussion focused on finding a balance between the right amount of pressure, versus overwhelming the employee.


Time is a luxury you don’t often have, but you always want to approach situations like this in a supportive way.


As a supervisor, you often don’t have the luxury of just telling your staff to get the task or project done when they can. There is usually a set deadline or optimal amount of time for the task or project to be completed. That being said, if you apply too much pressure on your employees, they are likely to disengage, resist, or work at much a slower pace. Everyone is different, and for many, they may become overwhelmed, miss some crucial steps, and forget to work safely.



So, what do you do?

  • Be clear about the expectations – both in terms of the desired result and the desired timeframe.

  • Be clear about why the timeline is in place. People generally like to understand “the why” behind a decision or process.

  • Share any information you can about the impact of the task not being done in a timely manner.

  • Ask how you can support the employee in ensuring the work gets done, and on time.

  • Provide the employee with guidelines about keeping you updated on the progress of what they are working on.

  • Keep track of whether the work and expectations are regularly being achieved.

  • Address any individual employee issues with the employee themselves privately and in a supportive way.

  • Make changes when necessary to unrealistic timelines.


Don’t forget to revise your expectations as necessary as well. Continuously adjusting timelines can send the message to your employees that your timelines are not all that important. Managing expectations, outcomes in a supportive and realistic way will always work to your benefit.

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