Credit: Natasha Connell on UnSplash

Well, I guess if their job is with the circus, as a clairvoyant …

But for most people in business today, it works better if you don’t assume.

Managers often say things to me like, “My employee has an MBA and experience.  She should know how to do that.”  Erm.  That’s a big assumption right there.  Or, “Well, everyone should know that you don’t wear your jammies to work!” Um.  Same problem. So the manager operates from a “I shouldn’t have to say it” position while employees do what they do, and someone ends up disappointed.

The management tool of setting expectations is the ticket.  First you figure out your overall, not-project-specific, broad expectations that you have for all your team members, and you communicate it to them.

In this article I will define how to create Broad Expectations.

What they are

Broad Expectations are statements of where you stand in terms of excellence for your team or group.  They are the short handful of overall expectations that are true for you no matter what business you’re in or the specific work at hand.  For example, you might expect that any written work should be ready to for the intended audience without your having to review it.  Any project, any person, any business you’re in, if this is true for you it’s always true.

How to write them

1)  Each one is written in one sentence

2)  Each one is stated in positive terms (what you want to see vs what you don’t want to see)

3)  Each one is “Broadly” specific (clear but not down to the quantum level)

4)  Each one relates to one of the main topics of performance: Attendance, Work, Behavior

More examples

·      I expect everyone on the team to solve problems constructively and methodically

·      I expect everyone to treat internal stakeholders as respectfully as external customers

·      I expect everyone to produce agreed upon results whether working here or at home

·      I expect everyone to communicate in a constructive, assertive, respectful manner

·      I expect everyone to be available by cell phone 24/7 even when you’re in the shower

Ok, that last one isn’t recommended.  But a crazy number of leaders actually DO seem to expect this.  They send an email or text at 11pm on a Sunday night with an “urgent” demand for 7am Monday morning and get all bent out of shape because nobody saw it until they come to work at 8am.  This is a conflict of expectations.  Organizations will say, “We offer work life balance!” but then a manager has a hidden expectation of round-the-clock availability/attention.

So at least be honest with yourself and with your staff.

Performance management is my favorite topic. Except for conflict resolution, that’s also my favorite. It’s not uncommon for those two favorites to happen simultaneously 🙂 Communicating expectations and not assuming everyone knows what’s in your mind is one way to get good performance, maintain good working relationships and communication, and reduce the possibility of conflict over unstated or unclear expectations.

I love to talk about this stuff so call me if you do too! 831-588-6191

Photo Credit: Natasha Connell on UnSplash