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How to Set and Maintain Clear Expectations for Your Team

15 February 2021

5 Min Read


Have you set clear expectations with your team?

Setting clear expectations is a simple yet effective way to keep everyone on the same page. If you’re having trouble with employee engagement or even turnover, perhaps it’s time to rethink team expectations. How expectations are communicated can make a massive difference in productivity for all team members.

In this episode of The Learning Xchange, Matthew Brown discusses the importance of setting clear expectations. Schoox’s VP of Learning and Brand Success highlights just how important it is that each team member knows exactly what’s expected of them. He draws on his personal experience of what happens when expectations are not clearly defined. 

Listen to this episode of The Learning Xchange below, or keep reading to learn more about the importance of clear expectations.

Why clear expectations are so important

Setting clear expectations in the workplace is vital for several reasons. The first is that it ensures everyone is on the same page. Everyone knows what to do, when, and how. This can reduce a great deal of confusion, miscommunication, and frustration.

Clearly defined job roles, responsibilities, processes, and goals are crucial to helping anyone achieve the best in their job role.

Another reason why clear expectations are important is that it improves employee engagement. Employees who aren’t sure what to do or why they’re doing it won’t feel as engaged or motivated as they could be.

A further reason why clear expectations are so important is that they foster a spirit of openness and transparency in any team. This might not sound like a priority for a manager who has business targets to meet, but it can go a long way toward increasing productivity.

With more engaged and focused employees who are clear on their role, this can only mean good things for the company.

A common mistake that business leaders make

The idea of setting clear expectations in a business may seem obvious at first. It may, in fact, already be part of your onboarding process for new hires.

However, what this does not take into account is changing expectations and developments in the business. When a team undergoes big changes, expectations need to be revisited for everyone.

For example, perhaps you started working for an organization with clear goals and expectations. However, organizational changes could mean you’re required to report to someone new. Suppose the company failed to set clear expectations with the new manager or leader. In that case, it could impact your performance review as mismatched expectations leave room for confusion, frustration, and even disappointment.

Different ways to set and maintain clear expectations

See the importance of one-to-one conversations

If you find yourself in a similar scenario, where the manager and employee have completely different ideas of the role, take it as a lesson.

One-to-one conversations are so important when it comes to setting expectations and goals plainly for both parties to see.

To avoid miscommunications about this, it’s good to have regular catchups with your team on a one-to-one basis. During these catchups, it’s important to redefine company goals and expectations (whether they have changed or not).

Ask what you need from other people

For non-managers, one of the most important things you can do is establish what you need from other people to do your job effectively.

That’s where setting an expectation becomes a two-way thing. It’s not just about the manager telling an employee what to do. It’s also the employee’s job to assess what they need from the manager to do it.

If you are the manager, this expectation must be communicated to the employee as well.

Acknowledge when things need to change

If your team runs into this problem of miscommunication, how you move forward is crucial. Rather than point the blame, people on all sides should acknowledge the problem and learn from it.

If you are a manager, it’s important to take it as a learning experience on how to better communicate your needs with employees. Employees should also take it as a chance to learn how to communicate what they need to do the job.

Setting goals and expectations sound simple in principle, but it’s very easy to let slip. Changes in company structure, management, new hires, and promotions can greatly skew perceptions of power and expectations.

The best solution is to have regular, open communication with all employees about the role and the team as a whole. Part of a manager’s job here is to make the conversation open and comfortable for the employee to speak honestly. Only through being open will real change and improvement come.

Thank you for reading this podcast episode summary. For more from The Learning Exchange, find all of the episodes so far on your favorite podcast app or website. Please subscribe to show us your support!

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