Here’s a quick true situation below which you may or may not relate to, that gave me a valuable insight this morning.
Expectations are interesting and tricky things.
We all have them.
Whether we realise it or not.
From how we expect our partner to love and treat us. To how we expect our parents to love us. To how we expect our children to behave. To how we expect our morning coffee to be. To how we expect our friends to treat us. To how we expect to be helped by shop assistants. To how long our online shopping should take to arrive. To what we think is an acceptable time to wait for our meal at a restaurant. To how we expect products we purchase to perform. To how we expect our employees and team members to think and act.
The list is endless.
And when they aren’t met, we can be disappointed, frustrated, or even angry.
A simple example – a colleague of mine was recounting her family gathering at her place on the weekend. She was frustrated that certain members didn’t do things she naturally assumed they’d offer to do, and it left her with a lot more organising.
But then she stopped and realised she hadn’t communicated her expectations at all.
She had expected them to be mind-readers. She had expected them to think as she did.
It was a good reminder to her (and myself), that we really need to ensure we’re clearly (and lovingly) communicating our expectations to the key people in our lives – in both our professional and personal lives.
Taking this discussion to our professional lives for a moment –
An alarming figure in the recent Global Workplace Study by Gallup was that 50% of employees don’t know what’s expected of them.
That means 10 out of your 20-strong team you’re paying hard-earned money for, have no idea what you expect them to be doing.
Gallup also found that knowing what’s expected of them is a key driver of engagement in your business.
So right now, half of your team is making up their daily tasks which may or may not be focused on what you want and, may or may not be acting and thinking how you expect as a member of your team.
To top this off, they aren’t engaged in the business – i.e. they’re just doing the bare minimum.
Think about your expectations for a moment – have you communicated them clearly?
You may have noticed above that there are two sets of expectations we must set:
1.The roles and responsibilities each person in our team has (with performance KPIs for accountability).
2.The thinking and behaviours you want to see (these are driven by our values and need to be measured too).
These two have to go together.
Say for a simple example, your team gets the results you’re after, but they don’t do it legally then that’s a problem (well it should be!).
Or say one of your tradesmen smashes the monthly target for house calls, but later you find out they were rude to customers and didn’t clean up after themselves, greatly tarnishing your company’s reputation.
You can see how roles and responsibilities have to go hand in hand with thinking and behaviours.
As human beings we’re all wired differently – you can’t assume anything!
You need to clearly communicate your expectations and the best way is to put them in writing and to go through your expectations one on one with each of your key people to ensure there is no confusion or doubt.
Have you set clear expectations for your people? How could you improve?
This is a meaty topic and today I’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg.