Managerial Expectations – Don’t Keep ‘Em Guessing

by Jennifer Miller on June 20, 2013

in Communication, Team Effectiveness

Communicate with Clarity

Communicate with Clarity

From time to time, Mr. People Equation and I talk shop about managerial things. As a director-level leader who has supervised technical professionals for more than a decade, he’s been around the block and I value his insights.

The other day, he mentioned an Expectations List that he gives to employees new to his department.  It’s a document that he pulled together a few years ago to give employees a sense of expectations that might not be clearly written into their job descriptions.

He’s agreed to share it for the benefit of The People Equation readership. Some of the expectations are very specific to his organization, so I’ve included only those excerpts that I think translate well to any manager who supervises knowledge workers:

  • Be professional.  We’re pretty relaxed yet very busy.  Promote yourself as a competent technical resource and you will boost your opportunities.
  • Look for work.  I expect you to keep yourself occupied on work related tasks. If you are waiting for someone to notice that you need another assignment, you risk the impression that you are not dedicated to promoting the success of our company. Be proactive!
  • Follow through.  If someone owes you a deliverable – you have my permission to, tactfully, be a pest!  E-mail them, voice mail them, send them notes in the inter-office mail, I don’t care if it is [name of company president] who promised you information.  I will back you up.
  • Persevere.  Being wrong is NOT a failure; it is a learning opportunity.  Risk taking will lead to learning opportunities.  Not progressing because you don’t have all of the answers will give the impression of a lack of ability.  Creating open issues will generate the needed actions and get others involved.  Take calculated risks and be known as a “doer”.

In addition to sitting down with new employees, Mr. People Equation sometimes does a refresher meeting on these expectations – such as when an employee needs to be reminded, or at performance review time. In that sense, it’s a “living document”, meant to drive conversation about performance and whether or not expectations are being met.

These talking points are simply the start of a dialog between manager and employee – a way to open the door to a conversation that will help both parties better understand expectations –for the duration of the employment relationship. Being part of a viable organization requires accountability and action to ensure strong communications and a workplace culture primed for success.

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