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How To Communicate Expectations To Your Team

Aug 11, 2020 | 10m

Gain Actionable Insights Into:

  • Setting clear expectations with your employees to avoid misunderstandings
  • Navigating much-avoided qualitative expectations
  • Keeping performance reviews objective and effective


Laying the Groundwork for Performance Expectations

Performance reviews tend to be the event that employees and employers dread the most because of the uncertainty of the outcome, but there are ways to navigate that tricky situation. If managers and leaders understand and implement these steps right, you may find that it is actually not as daunting as it seems.

The very first thing every leader needs to do is set expectations right from the beginning. Have a detailed list of these expectations laid out and go through them with your team. What values does this team stand for? What are the key metrics of good performance? How is their performance going to be measured? This is extremely important as it will set the tone for the way your team works and grows, together and individually.

When you set these expectations with your team right from the start, all of you will be aligned to a common understanding of the values and goals that you want to gun for.

There are two main types of expectations. Quantitative goals are straightforward and easier to manage ‒ these are your sales targets, profit margins, returns on investments, and so on. These are clear indicators of whether your team is functional, effective, and serving their purpose in the organisation.

However, people are much more complex than that, and whether individuals are able to hit their quantitative goals depends on how they manage themselves on an individual level, in a relationship with another person, in a team dynamic, and in a larger organisational setting. In a nutshell, soft skills such as active listening, communication, reliability, accountability, adaptability, and conflict resolution are key to performing well.

The downside is that these skills are largely subjective ‒ everyone has different interpretations of what a good communicator is, and there is no way to put up a general numerical scale and expect everyone to have the same interpretation of it. So how, then, does one go about measuring and examining how good their communication is, objectively?

This is where managers and leaders come in. Due to the subjective nature of these skills, managers tend to shy away from dealing with this aspect of performance management, but it is extremely important that you incorporate this into your performance evaluation.

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Leon Yeo

Former Chairman and EVP, APAC

Wood Mackenzie



Managing Performance