Many of us as bosses or team leaders have had to read our bosses’ minds and hope we read their expectations correctly. We are often afraid to ask too many questions out of fear of looking stupid. Yet, the problem is, we’re not mind readers!
Now, as bosses, we’re doing the same thing to our teams. Instead of sharing expectations simplistically and consistently, we expect them to just know. We even expect them to let us know if they are off track. The problem is, because they are not mind-readers, how are they going to know if they are off-track?
When you fail to share your expectations in a clear and consistent manner and expect your team to read your mind, there will be missed deadlines, miscommunication, and missed opportunities that cost you and your company millions of dollars.
6 Tips to Improve Expectations for Better Results
- Be realistic! This is #1. Engaging your team to achieve intended results requires your expectations to be in alignment with company and customer expectations. Be clear and ask questions to ensure you’re on the same page with your boss and customer before sharing your expectations with your team.
- Let Go of “Shoulds.” Stop focusing on how things “should” look and how the process “should” go. Results never occur in a straight upward line. Instead of insisting on only your way, ask your team for their ideas. Brainstorming gets everyone on the same page and your expectations in alignment with them while encouraging innovation.
- Communication is Key. Practice sharing your expectations out loud in front of the mirror. Keep them simple to understand. Then, like everything in life, communicate…communicate…communicate by being consistent and realistic.
- Be Responsible and Accountable. When your team members go awry, and they will, their results often won’t support your customer’s needs. This is on you.
- -“What did you fail to communicate?”
- -“How can you get the team back on track?”
- -“What does the team need from you to regroup and refocus?”
- Get Unstuck Quickly. Otherwise, the team’s motivation will be sabotaged. Remember, when you don’t share your expectations and managed accordingly, team frustration will set in and grow exponentially. If you keep sending mixed signals, you will get mixed results.
- Encourage Feedback to Avoid Surprises. At every meeting, ask for feedback on the project. Ask: What’s working? What’s not working? Then, “What do you need from me?” This will let you know if your expectations are on track, off track, or too unrealistic. It’s easier to fix things now rather than wait until the team has been stuck and is afraid to let you know. (Hint: with that level of frustration, they are circulating their resumes.)
©Jeannette Seibly, 2019
Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning champion for people and results. For the past 27 years, she has guided bosses and teams to excel. Want to improve your results and communications with your team? Contact Jeannette now for straight talk with dynamic results.
New! Podcast! How to Humanize Your Story for Success
Today’s guest is Don Cardona. As a former NBC and ESPN Sports Producer, he understands the power and importance of humanizing your story for success.