Stop Making Your Team Read Your Mind: How to Set Clear Expectations

August 26th, 2015 2 Min read Stop Making Your Team Read Your Mind: How to Set Clear Expectations Blog
readmymindThe majority of workplace conflicts, poor performance issues and employee turnover can be narrowed down to one thing: a lack of clear expectations. Leaders who excel at effectively communicating expectations to their team members create a positive work environment and help employees reach their full potential. Here are some easy ways to ensure you are setting clear expectations for your team members.

Invest the Appropriate Time into Defining Your Expectations

If you are unsure exactly what the expectations are, how can you clearly articulate them to your team? Before sharing your expectations with your employees, take the time  to not only plan and define your expectations but also understand the importance of why you have them.

Clearly Communicate Your Expectations

Unless you have a team of X-Men, telepathy is not a realistic job requirement. Assuming your team members can read your mind is one of the biggest mistakes a leader can make. If you have an employee whose performance is less than stellar, ask yourself:
  • Does the employee know the expectation? How do you know that he knows?
  • Is the employee even aware he’s underperforming? How do you know he’s aware?
  • Does he know how to do the task? How do you know that he knows?
  • Does the employee know the consequences? How do you know that he knows?
Unless you clearly communicate the expectations regularly, your employees will perform based on their habits and perceptions of what is expected.

Write Down Your Expectations

In addition to verbally communicating your expectations, write them down to provide further clarification and give employees a point of reference.

Make the Expectations Mutual

The expectation conversation is a two-way street. Not only should you clearly define and communicate your expectations with employees, but listen and be open to their expectations of you. This is easy to do when you create an open and transparent environment where your team feels comfortable expressing what they need from you to succeed.

Offer Feedback and Encouragement

Feedback is important in helping employees know whether or not their performance is meeting expectations or if they need to improve. Otherwise, you’re just assuming that they know how they are performing. Remember to talk about your expectations in positive terms and to recognize your employees’ efforts and successes in meeting your expectations to help them understand the importance these expectations have on their growth and success.


Elizabeth Cornwall

Elizabeth Cornwall

Liz is a communications manager based in Salt Lake City. For more than a decade, she’s done a little bit of everything in the communications world — from writing about locum tenens and travel nursing, to working as an executive speech writer, to becoming a social media influencer in the world of micro goldendoodles.

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