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Article: What Do You Expect? Related Resources

What Do You Expect?
by Marnie Green

The start of a new year is the perfect time to re-establish your expectations for employees. If you haven't shared your expectations lately, take a few minutes this month to clarify what you expect and share your ideas with your staff. The clearer your expectations, the more likely your employees will be able to meet them.

Here are four steps for establishing your expectations:

1. Take a moment to think about the things that are most important to you on the job. What are your bottom line expectations about timeliness, preparedness, and organization?

2. Write a list of your "bottom line" expectations.

3. Share your list in an informal conversation with your employees. Ask them to add to your list and provide you with feedback.

4. With your employees' input, use this list of expectations to provide day-to-day feedback and to orient new employees to the work unit.

One manager I worked with had a very specific list of expectations that he shared with each new employee. It was a list he had refined over many years. His list of expectations included expectations like:

* Arrive to every meeting on time or early.

* Always bring the necessary information and tools to each meeting (paper, pen, agenda, working documents).

* Always leave a current voice mail message on your phone.

* Return every phone call within 24 hours of receipt.

* Acknowledge each walk-in customer within 15 seconds.

* Ensure "no surprises" between yourself, your teammates, and your manager.

Of course, your expectations will vary based on the nature of your work environment. Nevertheless, you have expectations. Why not take some time this month to clarify them and to share them with others? Clear expectations now can make for a painless performance evaluation later in the year.

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Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Arizona-based Management Education Group, Inc. She is the author of Painless Performance Evaluations: A Practical Approach to Managing Day to Day Employee Performance (Pearson/Prentice Hall). Green is a speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations develop leaders today for the workforce of tomorrow. Contact Green at

Marnie Green may be contacted at


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