Should—The Most Dangerous Verb

Dangerous? A verb? Yes. Think about it. How often have you said…
  • They should have thought of that. (Because you have the advantage of hindsight?)
  • My husband/wife should XYZ. (Because your way is best?)
  • They should know that. (Because you do?)

Don’t get me wrong—I’m guilty. Probably more often than I care to admit in bullet #2, but that’s a topic for my counselor. This blog is about employee communications.

They should know that. I cringe when I hear this. And then I challenge with, Why? The answers are predictable and easily boiled down to, Because I am so well-versed in my project, I assume everyone else is, too.

“That” was part of orientation. (They were overwhelmed that day.)
“That” was part of an email. (They started the following week.)
“That” was part of a meeting. (They were on bereavement leave.)

So yes, maybe they should know that, but they don’t. Tell them again.

Link them to the orientation video. Share the topic on social media. Encourage them to ask questions.

They don’t know. Tell them again.


1. used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.

Shannon Vasko is a natural-born planner with a passion for strategy and integrated communications. © MI Compass Services

Human & Organizational Change
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