Managers are taught that holding employees accountable is the key to getting results, yet they often fail to clearly communicate their expectations. Rather than getting frustrated, try these steps:
1. Know what you want first.
We may assume others are being thoughtless or selfish when they don’t satisfy our needs, but we haven’t clarified in our own minds what we want. Get clear on this first.
2. Clearly communicate expectations and ensure understanding.
Ask the person to summarize or re-explain. This helps make sure you’re on the same page.
3. Define your desired outcome.
What do you want the end product or behavior to look like? Rather than telling an employee, “I need this ASAP,” say, “I need this by 10 a.m.”
4. Explain what you do want rather than what you don’t.
Rather than saying, “Stop emailing me about urgent issues,” try, “When an issue is urgent, I would really appreciate it if you could call me or stop by my desk.”
5. Reward the positive and coach the negative.
If your expectations are met, make sure to show appreciation. If not, before assuming the person intentionally disappointed you, clearly communicate what you wanted.