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Management Skills 101: How setting expectations is critical to leadership - Experteer Magazine

Why setting expectations is critical

One of the top reasons for unhappiness in the workplace is communication issues with one’s manager/supervisor.

Managers tend to make incorrect assumptions that employees have all of the information needed about what needs to be done, without having to communicate it clearly to them. Yet, employees will have a different idea of what is required.


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Management Skills 101: How setting expectations is critical to leadership - Experteer Magazine

Management Skills 101: How setting expectations is critical to leadership - Experteer Magazine




Key Ideas


It’s crucial for your team to know exactly what is expected of them.

The unwritten rules about the level of quality expected in the work, and the depth of knowledge that needs to be displayed, are what defines a successful work project.

What are the boundaries of an employee’s responsibilities? What are and what aren’t the roles of the job?


Communication is one of the most critical components of organizational life, and it is far too important to leave to chance.

What’s the preferred way of communicating, both formally and informally? What should be the frequency of communication? What are the protocols for communication at different levels – while reporting to the manager or even upper management?


When working closely together with multiple people on multiple tasks, it’s important to keep track of your time and that of the others working with you.


It’s the responsibility of the manager to make sure that the organizational principles, behaviors, values, and overall expectations are clarified.

All employees bring their past experience and habits with them. If those experiences and habits differ from the organizational culture, non-clarification can lead to poor performance.

Evaluating Performance Expectations

  • Does your team know what’s expected of them?  Let your team paraphrase what has been told to them. 
  • Have you told your team what they can expect from you?  They need to know how and when to reach out to you, and that you are accessible to them as a knowledgeable resource. 
  • Do employees know what is expected of each other? It’s important that everyone knows how their work affects their colleagues and how to work in tandem to achieve team/organizational goals.


    Setting employee expectations
    A recent study reveals that almost half of all U.S. employees are unsure of what's expected of them.

    Setting clear employee expectations can benefit your business. Management must co...

    Employer/Employee expectations

    Employee expectations to maintain:

    • Displaying a positive and respectful attitude
    • Working with honesty and integrity
    • Performing their work to a reasonable standard 

    Employees expectations;

    • Proper training, support and leadership from management and access to resources
    • Timely and accurate payment of wages
    • Safe working environments
    • Explanation of responsibilities, company policies and procedures
    • Regular feedback from supervisors or managers.
    Team expectations

    Team expectations refer to the behaviors that occur while working together on tasks. 

    • Respect and courtesy to everyone.
    • Be accountable for your work.
    • Be reasonably flexible about task assignments.
    • Be willing to lend a helping hand.
    • Ask for help when needed.
    • Work safely together.
    • Be open to constructive feedback.
    • Be self-motivated and reliable.
    • Share ideas for improvement.
    • Be cheerful, positive and encouraging to other team members.

    2 more ideas

    Communicate Early And Often

    An effective leader communicates early and often. 

    Don't assume that your team understands your expectations. Instead, proactively communicate your expectations. Empower them to m...

    Come To A Democratic Decision

    The right way to set expectations is to sit down with your employees and discuss everyone’s needs and expectations. Then come to a mutually agreed solution.

    Focus On The ‘What,’ Not The ‘How’

    An good approach for employees to best meet expectations is to focus on “what” your desired outcome or vision is. It allows employees to feel more invested in the process toward completion.

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    The importance of managing expectations

    According to Qualtrics, employees do not engage properly when they are unsure of their company’s goals.

    When your team ...

    Communicate clearly and frequently

    Communication is essential and comes first when setting expectations with your team.

    Have a plan in place from the start to ensure your team understands what you are expecting from them.

    For example, should they report every task they complete? Is there a set amount of time in which they should be able to reply to emails?

    Roles and responsibilities documents

    Your team will work as a unit if every member is aware of their own responsibilities and the importance of their work in the organization.

    This can be accomplished by creating a document that describes their role in the company in detail.

    3 more ideas