3 Ways Leaders Can Set and Manage Expectations

Setting and managing expectations is essential to a smooth-running organization. In fact, the failure to set clear expectations can lead to disappointment, underperforming, missing deadlines, and a host of other issues that can sap productivity and demotivate employees.

Setting expectations the right way starts with clear and effective communication. Because if you do not communicate what you want or expect, how will anyone be able to meet your expectations? Expectations provide guidelines, goals, and the accountability necessary to keep things on track.

Setting Clear Expectations Is Simply Good Business

Clear expectations:

Empower employees — When employees know exactly what is expected of them, they will feel more at ease in their roles. They will get things done because they are not dealing with lack of clear direction and ambiguity.

Improve teamwork — When everyone in the office understands what is expected of them, it creates alignment, and everyone feels like they are on the same page. With confusion removed from the equation, there can be a sense of camaraderie while everyone works toward common goals.

Align priorities — Employees who understand expectations also understand the “why” behind their work, and they have a stronger sense of how what they do affects others, so they can prioritize their assignments accordingly.

At the end of the day, setting and managing expectations clearly enhances your leadership and makes for a much healthier bottom line for your organization.

Communication Is Critical!

Leaders who struggle with communication may also struggle with expectations. As a result, they often tend to be frustrated and dissatisfied with employees’ performance.

Communication is a skill that needs to bepracticed. The key is to practice constant awareness of your ability to interact effectively with others. Let’s look at specific ways leaders can make setting expectations work for them.

#1 — Allow Employees to Question Expectations

Too often, I see leaders communicate expectations as if they are driving down a one-way street. They will approach an employee, express an expectation, and then walk away without giving the employee a chance to ask questions. As a result, what often happens is the manager gets frustrated and does not understand when an employee is not able tofollow through on instructions. Collaboration (two-way street) is essential – remember that both you and your employees need to agree on and confirm that you both understand what is being discussed.

#2 — Don’t Assume Others Can Read Your Mind

Your understanding of expectations is based on your perspective, which no one else shares. That is why it is so crucial to communicate even the most obvious expectations with enough detail so that your employee has what they need to do the job. Remember, too, that everyone on your team processes information differently, so getting to know their individual needs for receiving instructions is important to overall productivity.

#3 — Setting Expectations is a Never-Ending Process

Many expectations for employees should be set before they are even hired. Job descriptions should include basic functions, requirements,qualifications and skills. Outline expectations during the interview and hiring process, and once hired, keep that line of two-way communication open. Remember — communication should flow in all directions, and that goes double for expectations!

How Are You Handling Expectations Within Your Organization?

Do you struggle with setting and managing expectations? Are you frustrated with employees who never perform the way you expect them to?

I am here to help you understand what it takes to set and manage expectations in a way that transforms your leadership — and your organization. I know what it takes to bring leaders to the next level when it comes to communication, and I’d love to talk with you about how we can collaborate on solutions for your organization.

Feel free to send an email to joanne.trotta@leadersedgeinc.ca or call me at 1.855.871.3374.

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