“The bottom line is, when people are crystal clear about the most important priorities of the organisation and team…not only are they many times more productive, they discover they have the time they need to have a whole life.” – Stephen Covey
How clear are your team about the expectations you have of them in their roles? If you asked them, would they be able to respond quickly and accurately?
As managers, we often make assumptions that our team members should know what is expected of them; we assume they have the same standards, work ethic, values we do. And we sometimes assume they have the skills and commitment to achieve good performance. Unfortunately, we can forget that we should never assume! Even if our team have good intent, a positive attitude and high level skills, they may not be as focussed or even performing as we would want them to be.
To make sure you provide your team with solid grounding to achieve, support them to have knowledge, resources and opportunity to learn and perform. It is also imperative that you also be clear on what is expected.
Team purpose, goals and responsibilities
- The big picture purpose of the team i.e. why does the team exist? Ideally this is not presented in ‘corporate speak’ (you know, when lots of big, important sounding words are used, yet the message is not clear) rather delivered in succinct, every day language that is easily remembered.
- The goals of the team breaks down the purpose into achievable actions to be carried out over a set period of time.
- What each team member is responsible for to achieve the team goals. This should be as specific as possible, and accompanied by a clear outline of timelines and how the responsibilities will be measured.
Attitude and alignment
- The attitude that is expected for a productive team culture is not something that is always covered, however by being clear on the expectations here, it can make it easier to praise it when you see it and call it when you don’t. Do you expect your team to be positive, solutions-focussed and supportive of each other? If you do, tell them – it helps create the framework for building your team culture.
- Alignment is as important as attitude. A business will not succeed unless teams are aligned in their work with the organisational vision, goals and values. Ensure your team understand their link to organisational success and that their own goals and behaviour support that.
The ‘little’ things
- There will be other professional matters that are important for different reasons to different managers/organisations. These ‘little’ things can become big issues of they are not explained to the team. For example, do you find it incredibly rude and inefficient for people to be late to meetings? does your company expect certain policies to be well understood and strictly adhered to? do you expect to have monthly catch ups with each team member? what do you expect to be updated on and when?
- Obviously you don’t want to overload with these ‘little’ things or it will seem like a list of demands. Think through what is important for effective working relationships and performance then make sure your team know your thoughts.
Oh, and once you have established your expectations for the team, how about asking them if they have any of you? Most people appreciate being asked and generally will be reasonable and professional in response!
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