Managing Employee Expectations
Managing employees takes skill and knowledge on how best to build a team that is productive. A manager needs to have in their toolbox areas of strength that help them direct, encourage, coach and support their direct reports. Obviously, a toolbox has many tools in it depending on what you want to do. So what tool is most important in managing employees?
The foundation of managing employees is providing clear expectations.
Without taking the time to create and present clear direction, you will never have a strong working team. Most managers are not effective in this area and provide some information, though not a well thought out plan that provides their employees with clear expectations. The clearer you are on the desired result, the more effective your team members will be in implementing it. So how can you expand this specific skill to maximize the productivity of each team member?
To create clear expectations you need to step back, analyze, and create a blueprint of what is necessary for each person to meet the business needs and be successful in their roles. Without a clear understanding of what is expected, employees struggle to figure out how to meet undefined expectations. This is not about employee evaluation, rather it’s about grasping a strong understanding around what each person does and how that maps into the business.
So what are some of the questions you can ask yourself?
- What is the final result you want from each of the people on the team and how does that fit into specific business goals?
- What does each of them need to do, in what timeframe and how it is to be presented. The more you can drill down in this area, the clearer you will be to your team members.
- How do you want them to work together? How does each person’s responsibilities fit in with others in the team?
- Evaluate each person on your team and decide what team members need more direction on how to do something. This is prevalent with new employees who may need more coaching. Try not to micromanage employees unless there are specific ways a process must be completed. Otherwise leave the “how” to the employee to meet the expectations.
Communication is in everything you do. It’s important to figure out the best way to communicate to each member of the team what the goals are and what each person’s part is in meeting them.
- What information does each person need in order to meet the expectations? Specific details on the deliverable and what is expected from them to meet it.
- What is the most effective way to communicate expectations? In a meeting, 1:1 and how much documentation is necessary to insure they know what is required.
- Equally important in this process is to let each person know that you are there to help them overcome any obstacles they may face in meeting the expectations. You are available to brainstorm ideas and support them as they meet their goals.
- Communicate that you will hold each of them accountable on a regular basis to insure they are moving forward in the right direction. Schedule regular check in times to coach and guide your team members. Also use this time to reaffirm expectations.
After presenting expectations and structure for each team member, you need to now ask the following of your team members:
- What do you need from me?
- What clarity do you need in order to move forward with your responsibilities?
- What resources do you need?
The purpose of this feedback is twofold: 1) they let you know what they need to meet the expectations and 2) you can provide further clarity so they are successful in moving forward.
They may not ask questions right away, though I would recommend that you continue checking in with them, communicating the expectations and giving them room to ask questions to insure they are all moving forward in the right direction.
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