Are You Being Clear About Expectations?

Confused concept with Asian business woman thinking with hand drToday’s managers play a dual role—balancing their people management tasks along with their own work. Recently one of my clients was discussing this challenge and her specific time constraints. She was particularly frustrated about the number of meetings she needed to have with one of her solid performers to get an important task done. She felt she was spending an inordinate amount of time getting the message across to this person.

I asked the leader if she had clarified for her direct report at the start what the task was and exactly what a good job would look like.

There was a long pause; then my client said, “No, looking back, we never clearly discussed the desired outcomes. Now that you say it, I can see how that would have been helpful.”

Of course my client was bothered that she hadn’t thought about clarifying her expectations. Yet the reality is, when leaders are constantly being pulled in different directions, this often happens.

Slow Down To Go Faster

Sometimes leaders need to slow down to ultimately go faster. They need to take the time initially to clarify for themselves what successful accomplishment of an objective would look like. Then they need to communicate that expectation clearly to those who are tasked with achieving the objective.

When partnering with others to get something done—not only direct reports but kids, spouses, peers, even your manager—would you benefit by slowing down to ensure everyone is on the same page? You can do so by:

  • Clarifying the exact goal or task at hand
  • Defining and sharing a vision of what a good job looks like
  • Making sure all those involved are in agreement about the expected outcome.

Team members can’t hit a target if they don’t know where it is or what it looks like. Taking the time to clarify expectations and agree on outcomes greatly enhances the chance that your people will hit a bull’s eye.

About the Author

Joanne Maynard is a senior coach with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team.  Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have coached over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every weekat Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.

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