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Sharing Your Expectations

Sharing Your Expectations

Dan McCarthy | Great Leadership

August 27, 2010

I’m sure most Great Leadership leaders have been though management 101 classes, read books or blogs, and have heard about the importance of setting expectations. We’ve all heard about SMART goals, inspecting what we expect, the importance of job descriptions, and yada, yada, yada.

All good stuff, and I’ll tell you, it’s true.

So why don’t more managers do it? Is it that, like a lot of management and HR practices, we make it sound more complicated than it needs to be? If you’ve ever sat though a lesson on how to write SMART goals, you might come to that conclusion too.

It really doesn’t have to be. Here’s all you have to do:

1. Set aside 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. Turn off your phone, your email, and shut your door.

2. Take out a blank pad of paper and a pen, or open up a Word document.

3. Think about what you would look for in an ideal employee if you were hiring someone tomorrow. Jot those things down.

4. Think back to all of the performance discussions you’ve had with employees over the last few years. Jot the opposite of those things down, but add the word “don’t” in front of each.

5. Think about all of the things that are important to you that you have not discussed with employees, but you have implied. Add to your list.

6. Think of your best employees – what has made them so good? What does their best work look like and how do they do it? You got it, more for your list.

At the end of 30 minutes or sooner, you should have no problem filling up at least one sheet of paper.

Whatever you do, don’t go back and sanitize it. This is not an official HR job description that has to pass EEO and department of labor standards. It’s simply a list of stuff that anyone who has worked for you for 5 years has probably figured out. Maybe….. but have all of your employees? Perhaps to them it’s been like figuring out the secrets of the Da Vinci Code.

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