By Tom Davidson
When it comes to maximizing performance in others, the single most important factor (and common shortfall) for new and experienced managers alike is conveying clear and complete expectations. The second most common oversight is making them one-directional.
Make them Clear and Complete
When a leader who is having trouble with someone’s performance contacts me, my first few questions are to find out what has been done to clarify expectations. More often than not, here are the shortfalls in their answers:
Unless, the client has done the following to make them clear and complete, I send them back to clarify expectations and call me in six months if there’s still a problem:
When you review their version and meet with them again, you’ll be surprised how far off they were and glad you went through this exercise.
At this point, answer their questions and clarify your expectations once again, going through the same process of note taking and returning their understanding in writing. When they finally come back with the same expectations you intended in their own words, you’ve got it, and – more importantly – they’ve got it!
Make Them Two-Way
You may be the boss, but if you want to be a leader that people want to follow, take this one step farther by making the expectations two-way. Here’s how:
Once you have their expectations of you, get them to rate you on how you’re doing against them. This will be your baseline scorecard with them. Then get their feedback regularly and be sure to show progress! You’ll be a better boss and leader, and they’ll work even harder to meet the expectations you have of them.
What’s your favorite tip regarding employee expectations?