Are you and your direct reports on the same page? Here’s a quick way to find out

In a new post for Fast Company, “Do Your People Really Know What You Expect From Them?,” Ken and Scott Blanchard identify a common pattern at work.

When you first employ people, relationships start off very clear. Both you and the new employees have a clear sense of what they are supposed to do. Over time, however, many work roles begin to evolve into something different based on direction, redirection, praisings, and reprimands. It’s a multi-faceted process that includes where the employee wants to go with their career, how clear the manager has been with spelling out goals, and the type and amount of performance feedback that the employee has been receiving along the way.

Sometimes, managers and direct reports can find themselves in a completely different place from where they first started. Here’s a way to see if that’s happened to you.

Try this test

Take a minute to identify the five things or results, in descending order of importance, that you hold an employee accountable for. List the most important goal as #1, the second most important goal as #2, etc. Now, ask that employee to write down the five things or results he or she feels most accountable for. Don’t reveal your list until the employee is finished writing. Now compare the two lists. To what degree do the two lists match in terms of priority and content? If you are like most companies we work with, you’ll find that the two lists only have about a 20 percent agreement.

Alignment is key

An aligned purpose and clear expectations are the foundation of an effective work environment. All good performance starts with clear goals. Make sure that your people’s work is on track and on target.

PS: You can read more about Ken and Scott’s thoughts on managing performance—and see all of their previous blog entries at Fast Company, here.

2 thoughts on “Are you and your direct reports on the same page? Here’s a quick way to find out

  1. I love this! It’s like a version of the newlywed game for business. In marriage or business, it’s alignment and trust that fuels the relationship. Great example.

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