Manage expectations

Manage expectations ~ yours and others!


Don’t assume people know

All too often I hear people say something is “common sense” or that “everybody knows”.

The truth is everybody doesn’t.  We need to be explicit in our expectations and take the time to find out what others expect.  This is especially true if we manage others.

Make your expectations clear

Here are seven points an experienced manager gave to his new team.  I think they make interesting reading.  It certainly does help to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

Manager’s expectations

  1. Attendance: If not attending – advise me by 9 AM on the day, if not before.
  2. Leave: Consider casework when planning leave. If leave is necessary on particular dates, then it is your responsibility to ensure your casework is covered (i.e. speak to me about what is due, what cycle times may be affected or some expectations of clients which may need to be addressed).  Do not go on leave and have issues to be dealt with on return or while you’re away but no one is aware.
  3. Issues with other staff (in the team or not) are to be dealt with at the time. If we have a disagreement about anything, we will resolve it and then let it go.  We are in a workplace and our relationships, whilst they can be friendly, must always be professional.  We are all here for the same purpose, as people to earn a living and as officers to achieve the goals of the organisation.
  4. Manage your timelines on your cases. The case plans have a rough timeline but ensure you have something to work towards.
  5. Have some goals, even if only one or two. They can be anything from getting to understand a particular part of the law to a process or simply learning to better explain the situation to our clients.  It doesn’t have to be technical.
  6. I work hard to ensure my director and executives do not get any surprises and expect you to do the same for me. This means anticipating any fallout from difficult dealings and heading them off at the pass, or at least allowing the office to be in a position of knowledge to combat the onslaught.  Some things do come from left field but most can be prepared for.
  7. Support each other and have some fun with this stuff.

The above goes a long way towards letting new team members know what is expected of them.

Can you state your expectations?

  • What would your expectations be as a team leader?  
  • Even if you aren’t a team leader, what are your expectations of your peers?  
  • What are your expectations of your manager?

What about in your personal life?

  • What are your expectations of your partner?
  • What are your expectations of your children?
  • What are your expectations of your friends?
  • What are your expectations of your neighbours?

It’s really interesting when we put these expectations in writing.  Far too frequently people aren’t clear what their expectations are, yet are quick to get offended when these unclear assumptions are breached.  The clearer we are about what we want, then the easier it is for others to give it to us.




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