Read My Mind
by Marnie Green
I wish I would have received mind-reading abilities as a holiday gift. If only I could have an expectation and everyone around me would know what I was thinking and they'd just respond the way I want them to. That would come in handy as a supervisor. Imagine that all you had to do was vividly imagine a job well done and your employees would carry out the work just as you have imagined. Unfortunately, supervisors can't rely on mind-reading. We have to be clear about what we expect.
The good news is that it's a new year. January is a perfect time to re-establish or clarify your expectations for employee performance. This month try using a few of these tips to ensure that employees understand the expectations against which their performance will be evaluated:
* Lay out a clear vision. Have a conversation that begins like this: "This year, if our team accomplishes just three things we'll be successful. The three most important things for our team are ______, _______, and _____.
* Describe the ideal. Another conversation you should have with each employee is one that starts like this: "To be successful in this work unit, I expect that you will. . ." You can finish this sentence with qualitative measures, quantitative measures, or with specific behaviors you expect.
* Be specific with the end result. When doling out assignments, it's easy to assume the employee sees the task the same way you do. The next time you ask an employee to complete a task or to take on a new project, don't forget to include this important sentence in your conversation: "This project will be successful if. . ." By clearly defining how you see the end product, the employee is more likely to envision it as you do.
Clear expectations don't just happen. They take some thought and some careful attention to the delivery of your message. By using a few of these conversation starters, you'll be more likely to paint a clear picture of success for your employees.
Marnie Green may be contacted at http://www.managementeducationgroup.com
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 http://www.managementeducationgroup.com