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“There’s an elephant in the room – do you think it knows I can see it?”

People seldom state the obvious, or at least what they believe is obvious and that’s usually where teams start to “rub the wrong way”. Team member “A” thinks team member “B” should do X or say Y. Team member “A” thinks, “Don’t they know, it is obvious!”

Expectations start at the beginning, but it is at the end that the failure of communicating expectations becomes apparent. Don’t wait for failure to figure out the communication issue.

What exactly is expected?

Clearly state it. If you have to communicate it every hour, or every day, then that is what is required. There is no such thing as “over” communicating. A floor supervisor may need to set the expectation more frequently than a CEO does – but both are responsible for clearly stating what is expected.

Follow up for clarity. It is not enough to think you set the expectation. You have to validate for understanding. A former boss would end each meeting by going around the room asking each person directly, “Do you have any questions about what we just discussed? Are you clear on our path?” Whoa be if you left a meeting and an hour later “forgot” what was just agreed to.

Expectation is a two-way street. While you may have expectations of others, they also have expectations of you. It takes two to ride a seesaw. Team work requires that the team comes to a consensus regarding an expectation of itself. Without a foundation of understanding, team members may flounder and who has time these days to waste?

Make sure your expectations are realistic. Open and honest discussions about expectations and reality can mean the difference between success and failure.

Be intentional