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Right Ways For Leaders To Set Expectations With Employees

  • 18th Feb'22

If leaders want employees to increase productivity, complete projects on time and help their business thrive they need to ensure that every employee is aware of the expectations from them. However, it’s easier to set clear expectations in an organization by stating what the "right" ways and "wrong" ways are. 

Too many expectations on employees can sometimes go wrong unintentionally. You don’t have to micromanage employees at workplace post pandemic. But as a leader, you can try to clarify their roles and expectations. Below are the ten tips for leaders on setting expectations with employees discussed by members of the Forbes Coaches Council.


1. Provide Clarity, Context And Alignment 

Setting expectations on employees can be critical in leadership development, but many leaders are missing out on this key element. According to researchers, it is important to give context while setting expectations with employees. They need to know the “why” and how individuals are playing an integral role in the organization.

Also, it must boost their commitment to work in a bigger picture to the team and to reach the goal. Clarity, context and alignment are the key elements. - Jackie Insinger, Insinger Insights


2. Speak In Plain Words 

Feedback sessions are very critical to building the conversion professionally. Ensure to create an alignment between messaging that has to be delivered and perceived. If you fail to perceive the messages correctly, then it’s difficult for employees. 

Communicate in plain language and simple words that your employees can understand easily. Don’t confuse them by speaking in a complex language, which can be misjudged easily. Be conscious and use only the words that uplift rather than subvert. You can give opportunities for Q&A sessions in organizations. - Arthi Rabikrisson, Prerna Advisory


3. Ask Rather Than Tell

Your employees may stumble if they don't have clarity of what is expected of them. In such cases, you can conduct meetings and share your trust or expectations with them. 

It’s generally known that people who don’t have clarity, give less input on the projects. As a leader, you need to have an approach of asking rather than telling to get more commitment from employees. - Jim Livingstone, Northpoint


4. Understanding the Meaning of Success 

Be a leader... not justa a boss! The right way to set your expectations on employees is to understand their goals. You must find what success looks like for them and help to achieve their vision. Along with the expectations of their job roles and responsibility, goals are also important. 

If you have constant feedback sessions with employees, you can achieve more. As a team, you need to communicate with each other to achieve high performance and meet a shared goal. - Michelle Perchuk, MTV Coaching


5. Be Open About Expectations

The “right” way to set expectations with employees is to talk about them. Discuss why and how employees can meet those expectations. Be a better leader to your employees and help them reach your expectations. 

Most of the time, appreciate your employees to help them understand expectations. If they understand the reasons behind your expectation, it will help them. - Brandy Mabra, Savvy Clover Coaching & Consulting


6. Ensure That Expectations Are Attainable

The best way to set expectations for employees is to have reachable goals. To be beneficial, set your expectations that are attainable with the mission and vision of the company. 

Once you have proper alignment and attainability, it’s possible to ensure daily wins. These daily wins can be beneficial for both the employees and companies. - Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience


7. Include Employees In Every Process

Make it a partnership with your employees. Include your employee while setting their expectation to get great commitment from them. As we discussed earlier, make sure they are clear about the expectations of the role. Then give you ideas to help them achieve these expectations.

Allow employees to measure their performance and keep building their confidence. By encouraging your employees, you can make them achieve more easily. - Kimberly Svoboda, Aspiration Catalyst


8. Ask About Personal Goals

Start asking about your employee's personal goals. Ask them what they would like to have: a great bonus or a promotion? All this will allow you to understand them professionally. 

Talk about the ways to meet your expectations and support them in achieving career goals. Know how you can support employees and help them achieve it. If you consider employees' success, it will maximize your company’s growth. - Steve McIntosh, CareerPoint.com


9. Communicate The Vision Clearly 

Communicate your organization’s vision and team goals. Explain the roles and responsibilities of each employee role within the team. And help them coordinate with your team goals. 

To know the challenges in every project, ask your employees and collect their opinions. This will help you to explain the available support provided in the organization better. - Rittu Sinha, The Balanced Bandwagon


10. Prioritize KPIs From Day One

The right way to set expectations for your employees is to explain the key performance indicators. Prioritize the KPIs right from the interview process to be on track. 

Evaluate your employees' performance weekly.  Based on your evaluation, give constructive feedback to help them improve. Never be too harsh when things don’t turn out well; own your leadership flaws. - Jacquelyn Van Tuyl, Jacquelyn Van Tuyl International


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