Even the best of your small business team won’t always live up to your expectations. The problem may be a personal issue or it could be that you haven’t clearly communicated what you expect. Whether a project or program is short term or ongoing, you need to be clear about performance and the results you expect.
Establishing roles and setting expectations begins when you bring someone on board and continues through constant communication. Don’t wait for a performance review to let someone know they are underperforming or not handling their responsibilities in a way that will achieve the outcome you want.
Here are some things to keep in mind about setting expectations and helping your team achieve them:
Know what you want: Start with vision of what you want to achieve. Until you have a clear picture of the desired outcome, you can’t set expectations for someone else.
Establish criteria: Along with getting the job done, your team needs to operate in line with your company’s standards of excellence. As you set expectations, be sure you team understands what the standards are and if necessary review them.
Clarify roles: Make sure everyone understands their roles. Job descriptions should define what each person does but new projects or programs can change responsibilities. Periodically review roles and the relationship of team members to each other.
Provide the needed tools: Give your team the tools they need to do the best job they can. If they work at home or on site at a customer location, make sure they stay connected with the right mobile devices, video or web conferencing solutions to collaborate, and access to company information via the clouds.
Guide but don’t control: Once you’ve set expectations, step back and let your team members determine how to achieve the desired results. Be available to provide guidance, but don’t manage the process. By enabling your team to set their own course, you’ll be empowering them to achieve their potential, which will make them more motivated to help you achieve your company goals.
Give and get feedback: Periodically check in with your team. Give them feedback and also invite them to judge their performance. During the feedback, you can mutually discuss what needs to change, if anything.
Put it in writing: Take time to put things in writing and review them together so there’s no misunderstanding about your expectations and your team’s buy in.
Set an example: Make sure your own actions and words reinforce the expectations you set for your team. Set an example of the kind of performance you want and your team will follow
Most of your team members want to do the best job possible. They just need to understand what you expect of them and how you view success.