Monopoly is one of those games where everyone has slightly different rules. All of a sudden you were playing with someone and a new rule would come out of the blue and your strategy just went out the window. One of the keys to leadership is about setting expectations early, clearly and often. So no one feels blindsided or wants to flip the board game. In this episode, I share three tips for setting expectations with your team and three ways to set expectations for yourself.
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[00:00:00] Monopoly is one of those games where everyone has slightly different rules. All of a sudden you were playing with someone and a new rule would come out of the blue and your strategy just went out the window.
[00:00:12] One of the keys to leadership is about setting expectations early, clearly and often. So no one feels blindsided or wants to flip the board game. In this episode, I share three tips for setting expectations with your team and three ways to set expectations for yourself.
[00:00:31] One of the tools in my Delegation Playbook is a team task tracker. I’ll explain at the end of the episode, how you can get your hands on it, so you can feel completely in control of the expectations you’ve set your team, and you can have your team update you on their progress instead of feeling like a micromanager or continually checking in with them.
[00:00:48] So let’s get into this episode.
[00:00:52] Over the summer holidays, which is normally six weeks over Christmas in Australia. I had often played board games with my two sisters. A usual favorite was monopoly and games could go on for days or weeks and have good natured banter or be an all out war. When everyone’s clear on the rules, play is fair.
[00:01:12] And I remember playing with other friends who had different rules, like how all the tax money goes, not to the bank, but the middle of the board and free parking means you got to keep all that money. Now that makes it more challenging because when you have different rules, you don’t know the expectation or when a new rule will pop up.
[00:01:32] Now imagine you’re with a friend who was to play a board game, but unlike your friend, you’ve never played this game before. Ever. You don’t know the rules of the game or even how you win. You don’t know if you need a partner or how to advance around the board.
[00:01:48] You ask your friend for some explanation and guidance, but she’s vague and suggests to just go with the flow and figure it out as you play.
[00:01:54] Now, depending on your personality and the type of game, most people would say that is not much fun for you and probably not much fun for your friend. Plus that kind of uncertainty causes frustration and makes you want to walk away from the game. Maybe even flip the board upside down.
[00:02:12] The same can be said for uncertainty in the work environment. Vagueness and that too much of a go with the flow attitude, might make your team feel like they want to send the metaphorical game flying off the table.
[00:02:26] So why is setting expectations as a boss or a leader so important?
[00:02:32] A new hire often receives a detailed list of job expectations when first starting. And that is great, but it’s also important to keep it up. The communication often fizzles out on the team gets busy and regular check-ins get pushed off the calendar. You’re busy. They’re busy. But when you transition to the leader or the CEO of your small business, it’s important to maintain those check-ins and guide the team.
[00:02:57] As a business owner, you’re responsible for setting up your company’s culture and defining what success looks like. And that means communicating those values clearly and regularly.
[00:03:08] So, how do you set expectations with your team or employees?
[00:03:13] You can only expect your employees to do their jobs well, if you’ve been clear about what’s required with specific milestones and agreed upon goals. This isn’t to say, you should give directions like a dictator. This is far from it. It’s more about defining clear expectations and guidelines and drawing the outlines of success. What’s the big picture everyone is working towards?
[00:03:36] Here are a few tips for setting goals and managing expectations.
[00:03:40] Firstly make the implicit explicit. No. I don’t mean swearing. If you’re unhappy with the performance of someone in your team, do they know what the expectation was to begin with? Or was it an unspoken expectation?
[00:03:56] I find this so often when I work with clients- they feel that their team members should just know what to do. We presume everyone knows because it is clear to us. But it’s not the case unless we communicate those details. There’s a really great saying that I have taken from Brene Brown’s book “Dare To Lead” and she heard it from Alcoholics Anonymous program. And in the books she wrote about this particular quote and the quote is “clear is kind, unclear, is unkind”.
[00:04:29] She says, not getting clear with a colleague about your expectations because it feels too hard, yet holding them accountable or blaming them for not delivering, is unkind. If your team member is guessing what to do or how to do it, they’re burning a lot of time and energy, and in turn can feel stress and frustration. So it’s really important that you make the implicit explicit. Make the unspoken expectation, a spoken expectation.
[00:04:59] The second thing: make a goals, tangible and known. Creating specific tangible goals for the company and clearly, and consistently communicating them to all team members is one of the best ways to ensure that everyone knows what they’re working towards. It’s also the best way to keep track of progress which is important when working with a team of people with different skill sets and responsibilities.
[00:05:21] My third tip for setting goals and managing expectations, is create a supportive environment.
[00:05:29] A supportive environment is vital for healthy working relationships. When employees feel like they can ask questions, make mistakes, and learn from experiences without a fear of failure or judgment. They’re more likely to put in the effort required for success.
[00:05:42] Lastly, how do you set expectations for yourself? Now setting expectations for yourself as a boss or a leader is just as important as setting them for your employees or team. It’s easy to get caught up in everything you need to do and forget to stop and reflect on your guidelines as a leader. Here are some leadership expectations to keep in mind for yourself as a boss.
[00:06:06] First be flexible. You’re not going to get every decision right. However, taking feedback without getting defensive or angry will help you learn and improve in each situation.
[00:06:18] Don’t micromanage. Give your employees the direction and freedom they need to do their jobs well. The full motivated and valued and will perform better.
[00:06:27] I wrote an entire blog post about this and recorded an episode of the Level Up Leadership podcast, just on micromanagement. It’s episode 35 if you’d like to listen to it, or you can jump on zenithjourney.com and go into the blogs to find out more about micro-managing.
[00:06:43] And the last expectation for yourself, welcome feedback. Listen as passionately as you would want to be heard. Asking employees for their opinions and ideas is an important part of a productive, honest, and respected team.
[00:06:58] So setting clear expectations is kind. If you’ve been unhappy with the performance of someone on your team, take a few minutes to reflect on the spoken or unspoken expectations. Things may seem so clear to you when they should be apparent to others as well, but that is just not the case. Just like when you know the rules of the board game, because you’ve played it so many times before, but the other person is new to it.
[00:07:24] It is never too late to talk about expectations in the workplace, if you’ve been operating without clear goals and direction for any length of time, now as an excellent time to take stock of where your team stands and begin to making updates. Remember that being clear is kind.
[00:07:40] If you’d like to fast-track your leadership learning and get some handy tools to help set clear expectations without micro-managing. Check out my Delegation Playbook toolkit. This resource includes everything you need for communication and clarity and delegation. And it comes with a tracking template that’s worth the investment on its own. You can find it by going to zenithjourney.com/playbook, or by clicking on the show notes. If you found today’s episode useful on setting expectations, please share it with another leader or small business owner, because the better we will become on leadership, the better workplaces we create for ourselves and others to work in.
[00:08:20] Thanks for listening. handy tools to help set clear expectations. Without micro-managing. Check out my delegation playbook. Toolkit. This resource includes everything you need for communication and clarity and delegation. And it comes with a tracking template. That’s worth the investment on its own.
[00:08:38] You can find it by going to zenithjourney.com/playbook or by clicking on the show notes. If you found today’s episode useful on setting expectations, please share it with another leader or small business owner, because the better we will become on leadership, the better workplaces we create for ourselves and others to work in.
[00:08:58] Thanks for listening.
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