Award-winning content covering key jobseeking issues
Clear Expectations For Excellence In Leadership
Properly setting expectations for directors and employees/team
members is a critical dimension in quality workplaces, according to
a study of managers undertaken in the 1990s by the Gallup
Organization. Below are some tips on setting clear expectations
that will set standards for excellence and results.
1. Start with a vision of what you want the end result to look like. Not just what you want done, but the results you want to achieve when the project is completed.
2. Discuss the how you define “excellent performance.” Paint a complete picture. Refer to your performance review form. Don’t assume.
3. Focus on the desired outcome, not on describing each and every step. Your goal is to guide, not control. Letting individuals find their own route toward productive outcomes encourages them to use their strengths.
4. Tie the mission of the department to each job. People want to know that their role, whether large or small, makes a difference.
5. Put the expectations in writing.
6. Stay on the sideline. You may be tempted to step in and ‘play the game’ for a subordinate, but if you do, no one will learn.
7. Give feedback, and often! The annual performance review is too late to let staff members know how they are meeting your expectations. Schedule informal review time weekly (quarterly for larger departments). Feedback given along the way sounds more like coaching, not like punishment.
8. Ask for staff members’ feedback on how they think they are doing. Two-way communication clarifies expectations.
9. Give positive reinforcement. Don’t mix negative and positive. Mention the thing you like and you’ll get more of it. Be specific and prompt.
10. Don’t take it personally. When staff members don’t perform as you think they should have, look for solutions, not blame.