Creating Expectations For the Leadership Success
Communicating effectively with your team members is one of the key elements of organizational life, and yet it's far too easy to let things slip through the cracks. Almost everyone works according to their own personal preferences and their own habits, which may be quite different or at odds with those of others within the company. Yet, if you communicate your expectations clearly, you will get what you expect. If not, you'll likely need to do some tweaking to achieve what was hoped for.
A common mistake made by managers is that they set expectations of things that they can't achieve or that aren't actually possible. For example, if a manager expects his team to adhere to a certain dress code, he is either completely misreading the letter of the policy or ignoring the fact that not all employees will conform to the same dress code. In either scenario, he is setting expectations for a group of people who, realistically, cannot all live up to them. By the same token, if an employee doesn't follow the dress code, he isn't showing an unwillingness to adhere to company policy - he's just being practical. And while the manager has a responsibility to uphold the policies of his company, he should never have a responsibility for what individual employees do outside of that institution.
In addition to having a responsibility to uphold policies and practices, management must also have a responsibility to ensure that goals are actually met. This means having a clear understanding of what the company's goals are and then taking steps to make sure those goals are met. While every employee is responsible for his or her performance within the company, it's important that managers have a clear understanding of who is accountable for fulfilling those goals.
Most managers don't communicate clearly with their staff about the objectives of the company and the ways in which those objectives are going to be reached. Even though everyone knows what the company's goals are, they often don't know how to communicate those goals to their employees in a manner that accomplishes those goals. This is why it's important for managers to set expectations early on in a performance review. The better communicated the expectations are, the more likely it is that employees will actually meet them.
One way that managers can communicate their expectations is by using the job description. When an employee is hired, he or she is expected to fill a particular role. The job description will outline the expectations of that position and the duties that are required of that person. If an employee reads the job description and sees that the duties are listed under specific titles such as "teacher," "assistant professor," or "research analyst," he or she will be more likely to understand what those duties will be and what they mean in relation to his or her role. From there, communication can begin.
Another effective way to communicate the expectations is through informal communication. Since most managers spend a majority of their time in their offices, leaders can ask their employees questions through either a one-to-one meeting or team meetings. By setting expectations at this point, the leader will also be building morale, increasing productivity and projecting an image of success.
If a leader makes it clear from the beginning of a leadership role that personal and professional accountability will be expected, it can help create a more positive work environment. By making everyone on a team accountable to each other, there will be less stress within the group because people will feel more connected to one another. In addition, when there are clear expectations for each individual, there will be less confusion when something doesn't go as expected. When people know what to expect, they are less likely to experience drama or resentment when things don't go their way.
When a manager establishes and discusses expectations, he or she needs to make sure that employees know where they stand. Employees need to understand how they will be held accountable and what they can do to improve their performance. When there is clear understanding of what is expected of them, the performance issues that exist now can be quickly addressed.