I couldn’t sleep last night. At 3 AM, I found myself watching several episodes of Undercover Boss. It’s a TV reality series where top level executives disguise their appearance and infiltrate their organization. In one episode, an undercover C-level staffer broke anonymity and fired a restaurant shift manager who expressed hatred of customers. In another the president and CEO, of a chain was upset when a 19-year-old line manager who had been with the organization for three months was inconsiderate to his team members. What hit me wasn’t how “bad” these employees were. But what level of expectations and training they’d received. The 19 year old shift manager was later sent to the home office for three weeks of leadership training. Maybe they should’ve started his management career there.

How to set expectations

  • Explain what you want – Be clear, concise, and direct. Don’t rely on verbal communication alone put it in writing and followup.
  • Check understanding – Ask the team, or person, if they have questions or concerns, and then check their understanding by having them repeat the expectations back to you.
  • Explain how, but only as needed – A clear explanation of how activities are to be completed should be shared when a team member is new, compliance must be adhered to, or company policy dictates. If not, leave it to the team—don’t micro-manage.
  • Offer to help – Inform the team you’re there, and your door is open. If it’s not—why are you in a leadership position?
  • Set objective criteria – Let them know how success will be measured and steer clear of subjective definitions.
  • Don’t wait until it’s too late – Periodically check progress and understanding.

Are THEY prepared to meet YOUR expectations?

Do your direct reports have the tools, training, and guidance to be successful or have they been set-up for failure? If the new 19-year-old shift manager, mentioned earlier, had any management or leadership training, it was ineffective and hadn’t been followed up. After only a short time, the CEO observed destructive behavior that was adversely affecting the staff and customers. Why hadn’t this already been addressed? Because organizations of all types and sizes continue to use outdated old school peter principled management advancement strategies; followed by a lack of management training, goal setting, and expectation sharing. If you want people to meet your expectations you have to share them, and provide the tools necessary to achieve them.

If you’re interested in training new managers on the day-to-day basic activities of business leadership, download this free workbook.  The New Manager’s Workbook a Crash Course in Effective Management