What do you expect from your staff?

This is from Coach’s Corner in the June edition of my monthly eMag The Leading Edge.

Recently, with a number of my coaching clients, we discussed the topic of expectations. This led to the conclusion that clear expectations are important in the relationship between leader and staff.

What happens when our expectations are not clear? Even if we think that our expectations are clear in our minds, often we do not see them in the day-to-day actions of our staff. Turns out that what is clear to us is murky to others which leads to frustrations arising on both sides. Management is upset that certain things are not happening and staff is confused as to what is really expected of them.

One of my observations is that there is a division between real and perceived expectations. People cannot read your mind. You need to have conversations with your staff to ensure you are all on the same page with respect to your expectations.

Here are some thoughts of ensuring that expectations are clear and understood throughout your company or department.

First, you need to clearly define the expectations you have of your employees. What is important to you? What is important to the company? What is the reason behind each expectation? It is important as the leader to articulate your expectations and ensure you have clearly thought out what you ask of your staff.

Next you need to realize that simply posting a list of expectations does not ensure they will be followed. To truly incorporate them into the daily routine of your organization, they need to be repeated numerous times so that they become a habit for your staff.

Third, to ensure that your expectations are contributing to a positive culture for both your staff and your clients, it is important to revisit these expectations from time to time. Engage in regular conversations with your employees and discuss your expectations. What is working for them and you? What is not working? Allowing give and take feedback about the expectations opens a dialogue and creates a respectful environment.

Creating and then communicating clear expectations takes time and in the end leads to a more productive workplace with everyone working together in the same direction, towards common goals.