Discussing expectations – get to really know your team!

Of course, as a supervisor you surely know your team, but the expectations you have of each other may often be a little unclear. What do the employees expect of you? Discussing results, giving more feedback, coaching, helping, letting them be?

What do the employees expect from the organisation or from you as a supervisor?

As a supervisor, it is important to know quite clearly what the team members expect from you. This lets you know what they want, but also whether their expectations are actually realistic. Do the employees expect something that you know is impossible? It is really important to find out these expectations. If the team members expect something that you can never give them, they are unlikely to be very happy employees. The same goes for the organization: you also need to find out what the employees expect from it. In these conversations, it is very common to discover expectations that the employees have had for a long time. For example, some memo might have mentioned a plan to move, but that plan was later scratched . Empty expectations like this can be very stressful.

As a supervisor, what do you expect from the employees?

It is also important to let the employees know what you and the employer expect from them. This is the most concrete way of telling them what they need to achieve. Everyone is probably aware of KPI goals (key performance indicators), and of course they should be. KPI figures matter because they are concrete goals, but expectations tell the employees how to achieve them.

What motivates the employees?

Once the expectations are clear, it is time to look more closely at motivation. What motivates the employee? How does the employee want to develop? What are the employee’s career goals? How can you, as a coach, help the employee with these things? What can the employee do to achieve these goals? It is a good idea to have this conversation at the same time as the expectation conversation, because it may bring to light some conflicts that can then be sorted out immediately.

How does this happen in practice?

Take at least half an hour to discuss these things with each employee in a conference room or another quiet space. Create an agenda beforehand so that it is easier to stay on topic. Write down the contents of your discussion and give the employee a copy as well. This conversation should take place at least twice a year so that you both stay on the same page.

Suggested agenda for a discussion on expectations:

The employee’s expectations towards the supervisor and employer:

The employer’s and the supervisor’s expectations towards the employee:

What motivates the employee?

What are the employee’s career goals?

How can the supervisor help the employee achieve these goals?

What can the employee do to achieve these goals?

You are now ready to discuss expectations! I hope you, your employees and your organization find these discussions useful and rewarding!

Click here to download the Coach’s guidebook. It includes the agenda for discussing expectations, but a lot of additional information as well!

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Ville Mikkonen

Ville Mikkonen

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