Keeping Expectations Clear

Rene' Boer Process


I’m frequently asked, “How can I hold my people more accountable?” The simple answer is, you can’t. You must create an environment where people hold themselves accountable.  And, accountability starts with clear expectations.  But, keeping expectations clear is a two-way street.

This means that your direct reports must be clear on your expectations of them, and you must be clear on their expectations of you. Because if it’s only a one-way street, where you’re telling them your expectations without understanding theirs, I guarantee you that your expectation of them will become their resentment of you.

Start with the basics. Are you both on the same page with a clear understanding of what your Core Values look like in practice? Are you both on the same page regarding each other’s roles and responsibilities? How about understanding who needs to do what to complete a project or assignment? And finally, are you clear on the metrics that let you both know whether you’re winning or losing?

Put this to the test. Meet with each direct report to discuss four things: Core Values, Roles and Responsibilities, Rocks and Metrics.  Make sure that they understand that keeping expectations clear is a two-way street.  Ask them for some feedback – whether you’re in fact, doing that. Their answer should be either “yes” or “no”.  Prepare yourself for a “no” answer. Don’t become defensive. This can be a bit humbling, but it’s a big step towards understanding each other’s expectations and strengthening your relationship.

Consider this, when you, as a Great Boss, keep expectations crystal clear, you will rarely have to fire anyone. They will leave on their own accord because they could not meet your expectations. It’s that simple and it’s a big step toward creating a culture of accountability.