I couldn’t sleep last night. At 3 AM, I watched several episodes of Undercover Boss. It’s a TV reality series where top level executives disguise their appearance and infiltrate their organization. In one episode, an undercover C-level staffer broke anonymity and fired a restaurant shift manager who expressed hatred of customers. In another the president and CEO, of a chain was upset when a 19-year-old line manager who had been with the organization for three months was inconsiderate to his team members. What hit me wasn’t how “bad” these employees were. But what level of expectations and training they’d received. Later The 19-year-old shift manager was sent to the home office for three weeks of leadership training. Maybe they should’ve started his management career there. If you don’t set expectations what can you expect?

How to set expectations

  • Explain what you want – Be clear, concise, and direct. Don’t rely on verbal communication alone put it in writing and followup.
  • Check understanding – Ask the team, or person, if they have questions or concerns, and then check their understanding by having them repeat the expectations back to you.
  • Explain how, but only as needed – A clear explanation of how activities are to be completed should be shared when a team member is new, compliance must be adhered to, or company policy dictates. If not, leave it to the team — don’t micro-manage.
  • Offer to help – Inform the team you’re there, and your door is open. If it’s not, why are you in a leadership position?
  • Set objective criteria – Let them know how success will be measured and steer clear of subjective definitions.
  • Don’t wait until it’s too late – Periodically check progress and understanding.

Have You Set Expectations with Your Staff? Do They Have the Tools to Meet them?

Do your direct reports have the tools, training, and guidance to be successful or have they been set-up for failure? If the new 19-year-old shift manager, mentioned earlier, had any management or leadership training, it was ineffective and hadn’t been followed up. After only a short time on the job, the line manager’s destructive behavior adversely affected the staff and customers. Why hadn’t this already been addressed? Because organizations of all types and sizes continue to use outdated, old school, peter principled, management advancement strategies; followed by a lack of management training, goal setting, and expectation sharing. If you want people to meet your expectations you have to share them, and provide the tools necessary to achieve them. Because if you don’t set expectations what can you expect?

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a  management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash