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Manager Expectations

Written by: Craig Twombly
Published: April 2010

As a young leader I often found myself asking, "Why don't they get it?" I would think this about the employees that were working for me. The "get it" was in regards to everything from customer service to the responsibilities they had in their job. I became frustrated and tired of chasing behind the employees to fix issues or implement programs. I quickly found myself with the mental model that all the employees were lazy and did not care about their job. After many frustrating months of barking orders and unmeet customer needs, I discovered the need for expectations.

It became apparent that the job description the employee received when hired was exactly that - a description of the basic job and not what was expected from me their boss. Which led me to the next question, "Should I also have expectations from my employees?" The answer is a resounding yes! A job description tells someone the requirements of the job but does not let the employee know what is expected from their bosses. More people fail due to unmet or misunderstood expectations than from skills challenges. Understanding and setting expectations is important to the success of the team and the individuals on the team. Knowing what the expectations are of both the employees and the boss helps to clarify many things and it is important to define and discuss them at least twice a year, if possible. Below are some ideas in setting expectations with your team.

When first setting expectations of your team or staff, we suggest that you:

  1. Bring two flipcharts.
  2. Clarify your expectations of the team first (this sets the standard bar).
  3. Gather group's expectations for you.
  4. Discuss each component and only agree to what you can do.
  5. Use flipcharts as reminders and prompts to improve at staff meetings.
  6. Keep it in the office as a visual reminder.
  7. Continue the process now and then when there are changes or new employees.

When you set the expectations, it is important to understand what your team expects from you. By doing so it becomes a collaborative effort. Here are a few examples of challenging expectations to set with your team.

  1. Bring your concerns as long as you have suggestions.
  2. Talking behind another's back is unacceptable.
  3. Try to work out your conflicts in a respectful way before you see me with the issue.
  4. Be loyal to the company - improve people, the process and yourself.
  5. Be here when you are here. Be on time, focused, on board and engaged.
  6. Expect me to help you in any way I can so give me the first shot before you see anyone else.
  7. Taking care of the customer is the number one priority. Treat people better than you want to be treated.

By having these expectations your employees will better understand what you are looking for. After seeing the magic of setting expectations, I often think I was the one who really did not get it. For a team to thrive and succeed it is not only important to set yourself up for success but also everyone on your team. If I had known how to set expectations with my team back when I was a younger manager, I could have saved tons of time and effort. Although the thought might seem a little scary at first, if you set clearly defined expectations, so too will your team. Once the expectations are set, the challenge is sticking with it.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you would like to discuss this further, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us!

Craig Twombly

Craig Twombly

Craig is the primary facilitator at Priority Learning, he is responsible for conducting an array of leadership series offered and consulting assignments from communications to team development in organizations ranging from the service industries to finance, manufacturing and more. Having extensive experience at balancing the business needs with the wants and desires of people are Craig's strongest assets.