Set Clear Expectations and Watch Your Team's Productivity Soar
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 06-28-2018 06:54 AM
Synopsis: Giving your employees clear expectations is a critical skill that will improve performance and save countless wasted hours. Don't make your employees guess what you want, give them detailed instructions and they will deliver much better results on regular basis.
We live in a world where work has become faster and more complicated. We’re past the era where work truly stays at work.
Work and life are becoming more and more intertwined. It is a trend that is not going away.
Regardless of whether you like this trend, there are real ramifications for managers. This long-term trend, among other things, makes it even more critical for managers to set clear expectations for their employees.
Confusion and miscommunication are harshly punished in the marketplace. Competitors are sure to take advantage of any unforced errors.
Why It’s Important
While we may understand the general problem, there are several important reasons for managers to set clear expectations for their employees’ tasks.
By setting clear expectations, managers tend to eliminate unnecessary work. If expectations are not properly set, employees have to get into the mind of their manager as they attempt to deliver work product that they believe the manager wants. True, there may be instances where the employee guesses right. But often, the employee will guess wrong, which not only upsets the manager, but requires the employee to fix his or her mistakes. This leads to lower levels of productivity and lost time, as the employee cannot advance to other projects.
Conversely, by clearly outlining expectations and responsibilities for their projects, there is less of a chance that an employee will go on a fishing expedition or will waste time on tasks that are simply unnecessary. Whether managers explicitly outline responsibilities in a face-to-face meeting, in an email, or through another method, investing the time to set expectations before the employee begins a project will lead to less irrelevant work and less wasted time.
Along with eliminating unnecessary work, setting clear expectations increases employee morale. Employees are more confident that they are doing work that their manager actually wants. They tend to build more positive personal relationships with their managers, as they intuitively understand that the manager and organization have a clear vision of how to use their work. This goes hand-in-hand with eliminating unnecessary work: the employee knows that he or she won’t be led down a rabbit hole or will have to quickly switch tasks (or complete additional work) because the manager did not know what he or she wanted.
On the flip side, the lack of clear expectations can cause employees to be demoralized. They may take a cynical approach to their work:
If they are going to submit work product that is constantly “wrong” in the eyes of their manager, why should they put forth 100 percent?
Why should they take ownership of their work if their manager doesn’t know what the final product should look like?
Employees become confused and frustrated. Before you know it, they may start looking for other opportunities. As a manager, you can avoid this dark future by emphasizing clear communication with your employees.
Finally, emphasizing clear expectations with your employees leads to happier customers. When employees understand the tasks they need to complete (along with the overarching purpose of those tasks), they are able to better execute on management’s vision. With all employees operating in sync under that vision, the organization is able to deliver a better product or service to customers.
Customers can intuitively tell whether the organization is in sync or not. When employees aren’t on the same page or are not completing tasks according to management’s expectations, customers will notice inconsistencies in your organization's product, the messaging behind the product, or confusion within customer service calls. This can lead to things like fewer repeat customers or negative Yelp reviews.
While you may initially think that the lack of clear expectations is only an internal matter, the negative side effects can bleed over and affect customers.
It may ultimately affect your organization’s bottom line.
Take Action Today
Luckily, we can set expectations for our employees.
It is within our control.
The only thing holding us back is our own desire to take action. That said, after understanding the negative consequences of poor manager-employee expectations, we should start taking action today to begin setting more clear expectations for our workforce. Your employees (and your bottom line) will thank you for it.
TrainingABC's leadership training videos will teach your managers how to set clear expectations and other critical management skills.