Business working writing on a clear glass board - Arrows in two directions, one arrow is worded

Working with individuals, teams and organisations, one of the constant themes that I see not being done well by managers or leaders is the setting of expectations, ensuring alignment with other individuals, organisations and clients.  That is, the ability to ensure that everyone is crystal clear on what is expected of them and that they have gained clarity on the outcomes and objectives that are looking to be achieved.

When analysing this, there are a range of reasons why expectations have not been clearly set or outlined by managers or leaders, or not sought out by staff from their manager.  They include the following:

  • There is an assumption that I know what is expected of me;
  • I checked in when I started three years ago with my manager therefore no need to revisit;
  • I have a regular one on one with my manager.  They will tell me what they expect of me;
  • If I don’t ask, I don’t need to be accountable for delivering against these expectations;
  • As a manager, I don’t have time to revisit expectations for my team;
  • As a manager, people should know what is expected of them;
  • I will tell people what to do rather than align on expectations as a two way communication between me and my team;
  • I am clear on my role and the role of others; and
  • Change is happening around me.  I will avoid it by asking what this means for me.

These are a range of reasons why people don’t take the time to really align and drill down on expectations.  For me, checking in on what is expected of me as a team member and also the other way as a manager is a great way to start to build trust within a team.  Without it, gaps exist around role clarity, the ability to drive outcomes and the challenge in navigating change that requires regular check-in, alignment and conversations by all teams.

When was the last time you asked your manager what they expect of you?  When have you as a manager sat down with your team and worked through in detail what you expect of the team?  If you have not done this for a while, this is a valuable exercise to undertake.  You may find that delivery, achievement of outcomes and engagement improve significantly.