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August 19, 2019

Don't Assume Employees Know Your Expectations


My mom often used to say to me, “I’m not a mind reader. You have to talk to me. You may think I know what you’re thinking, but I don’t.” The same is true for your employees—they can’t read your minds, which means you have to communicate with them.

Share Your Expectations, Needs, and Hopes

When expectations are shared, research shows that employees most often rise to the occasion. It’s a common trap to think that you have shared your expectations. Put them in writing and come back to them often with your team. 

Here are must-do steps to help your employees understand your expectations: 

  • Tell employees what they can expect from you and what you consistently strive to deliver. Be as specific as possible and discuss what each expectation looks like. 
  • Share what you expect from employees and ask them to consistently deliver as well. 
  • For every project, make a commitment to discuss the critical success factors up front: the outcome, roles and responsibilities, timing, milestone check points, approval process, and so on. 
  • Have an expectations check in when you discuss the status of projects. How is the team doing for each expectation? 
  • Every day, commit to give at least one employee feedback to reinforce positive behaviors (how he or she is meeting expectations) and/or to extinguish any negative behaviors and suggest alternatives. 
  • Let your staff know that when they have questions, they need to ask. If they don’t have certain information that they need to do their jobs effectively, they must seek it out. Everyone needs to always remember that communication is a two-way street. Both you and your employees must play an active role.

What do you do to help your employees understand your expectations?

—David Grossman

Click below to download this eBook—Use the Right Channels to Communicate with Impact—and see how being more purposeful when choosing communication channels leads to less clutter and more effective communications with employees.
Communication Channels Guide eBook

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