How to Set the Right Expectations for Different Members of Your Technology Team
Around 50 percent of the employees working for organizations across the USA have no idea what is expected on them. Such employees can be a nightmare for the managers. However, it is not as much of an employee’s fault as it is of the manager. If your team members fail to understand what is expected of them, it may be because it was never clearly communicated to them.
Pick any leadership training program out there, and it will cover how to set clear expectations for each team member, and how to communicate said expectations to them. Employees who are aware of these expectations tend to work harder to fulfill them, are mostly likely to fulfil them and will prefer working with you as compared to other managers in the industry.
Why is there a need to communicate expectations when you have already defined roles and responsibilities? Before we die into the how, let’s talk about the why.
Expectations Keep Employees Engaged
Expectations remove the subjectivity from the whole performance-growth equation. When a person is clear about what they need to do in order to achieve a certain goal, they work with more passion and energy. By communicating what you expect them to do, you give them a roadmap to reach their next milestone.
It is a proven fact that employees are more focused and engaged when they are aware of what is expected of them. For instance, telling a developer that they are supposed to report all bugs as soon as they learn about them will increase engagement.
Expectations Prevent Stressful Situations
In a survey about stress at the workplace, around 31 percent employees stated that unclear expectations are the major cause of work related stress. As a leader or manager, you will be frustrated if your resources are unable to perform as per your expectation. But on the other hand, it is equally frustrating for the employees to not know what you expect from them. You have to define a standard so everyone in your team can live up to it.
How to Set Right and Realistic Expectations
Setting and communicating expectations is different from setting goals and milestones, but it requires equal amount of planning and effective communication. Despite being one of the basic aspects of leadership courses and training, it can be easily overlooked by managers who are too focused on project milestones rather than people’s goals.
Instead of keeping your eyes glued to the long-term objectives, focus on what you expect from your people on a daily basis. It can be expectations as simple as being punctual, creating a weekly report, or being more helpful towards the new employees. Your expectations may vary for each team member depending on their roles and responsibilities. Whatever your expectations are, make sure they are realistic.
Here is how you can ensure a clear communication of a realistic expectations for each team member.
Be More Specific
At the time of performance evaluation, the last excuse an employee needs to hear is “I was expecting more from you.” You need to define ‘more’ before you even expect your resource to do it. Be more specific with the expectation. For instance, you can tell them you expect them to build a chat widget, implement live chat on the website, and make sure the chats are being tracked in analytics. The part about analytics is an additional requirement that some developers will anticipate on their own, but most would appreciate it if you give them a heads-up.
Remember, there should be simply no room for confusion. Do not keep your expectations abstract or subjective. Write them down and try to communicate verbally as well as through email.
Provide Clear Guidelines
While many team members may not like the idea of their boss telling them what to do and what not to do, it is important to draw the guidelines and boundaries in order to define expectations. Clear guidelines actually empower the people to take initiative.
While one may assume that all the members are well aware of the difference between right and wrong, there is no harm in telling them what you expect them to do or not do.
Another common reasons behind unmet and unrealistic expectations is lack of understanding of job roles and responsibilities. As a manager, it is your duty to go through each member’s job description and see if your expectations of them conform to what they are required to do. However, keep in mind that the job descriptions only set the baseline expectations for each member. Those who seek exceptional growth must be able to rise above and beyond these responsibilities.
If there is a potential team member who you believe is capable of doing more than what their job requires them to do, it is best to communicate your thoughts in order to encourage positive efforts from them.
Reward and Motivate
As we mentioned, your expectations may go beyond the formally defined roles and duties of someone’s job. Why would someone push themselves to do more than they are paid for? There is a limit to how much more your team will do just to get in your good books. You have to create an actual measurable incentive to encourage them to keep doing better. Appreciate those who manage to meet the expectations, and reward those who exceed them. This shows them that each and every effort counts and they are motivated to put in even more efforts than before.
By setting the right expectations, you can witness a drastic improvement in the team’s morale and a spike in the overall performance and productivity. Clearly communicated expectations can also help you avoid a lot of conflicts down the line. These are just the basic aspects of management covered in leadership training and courses. If you are facing difficulties communicating your expectations, you should consider enrolling in one of leadership training courses offered by prestigious leadership and management institutes.