Maybe you’re missing every timeline. Maybe the results are ok, but not where they need to be. Revenue growth is slower than you’d like it to be. Profits are enough to get by, but not where you know they can be.
You may even love your team and feel confident that you have a team of A-players.
Your team isn’t performing up to standard. But it’s time to face the truth.
Jocko Willink, retired Navy SEAL commander and author of Extreme Ownership, put it best.
“There are no bad teams. There are only bad leaders”
Am I calling you a bad leader? No. That’s not what I’m saying. It’s not black and white. But there is a key ingredient that is likely missing from your current leadership recipe.
The good news? It is a simple fix. The bad news? It is not a passive fix. The solution takes proactive action; it take proactive communication.
It takes crystal clear expectation setting. And if your team members are already established in their roles and have been for quite some time, it takes crystal clear expectations resetting.
What I can tell you — putting in the upfront work to set vivid, crystal clear expectations has an irrefutable, massive ROI.
Here is how you set crystal clear expectations This is how evolved leaders run their teams.
What I expect from you
This is where you tell your current team member or new team member exactly what actions you expect him/her to complete. Tell this person what he/she is responsible for. You tell him/her how the work should look. You tell him/her what demeanor you expect, what pace of work you expect, and what approach to the work you expect. Don’t leave anything out. State the obvious. Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach who turned around the Green Bay Packers — from worst team in the league to back-to-back Super Bowl Champions, started every season by stating, “Gentlemen, this is a football”. Is that a little extreme? Yes. But, can you argue with his results?
What results we expect from you
Here, you lay out the deliverables you expect from this team member. What specific results is this individual expected to produce. If you don’t tell this person, explicitly, both verbally and in writing what results you expect, it’s on you if those results are not produced. Your team members are not mind readers. Some team members who are underperforming by your standards may even think they’re producing up to standard if you have not clearly stated what results are expected. If the results can be quantified, this is always preferred. That being said, include the qualitative as well. For example, a team member may be expected to maintain a “spotless work environment” for safety standards. If that’s what is expected, give examples of what a “spotless work environment” looks like. Be vivid in your expectations.
What you can expect from me and the team
Expectations are a two-way road. Let this team member know what they can expect from you and the rest of the team in terms of support, training, and resources. This presents you as a strong leader. It gives more weight to your expectations because it shows that you know this is a two-way road. This also creates self-accountability and clarity around what you provide to your team. Leaders put their team members first. Be crystal clear on the specifics here; it will pay off.
What not to expect from us
Do not skip this step. I’m going to repeat that. Do not skip this step. Lack of clarity here leads to conflicting expectations down the road and this can lead to losing crucial, A-player team members. Explicitly state what this team member should not expect from you and the team. Let this team member know when he/she is expected to be independent. Let him/her know the limits of the support, the training, and the resources. Do not overpromise and under deliver. The team members of top-notch leaders rave about their company and specifically the leader because these leaders over deliver. These leaders set themselves up to over deliver by setting crystal clear expectations on what team members should not expect. Does this make you uncomfortable? Understandable. This is normal. It makes almost everyone uncomfortable to make statements in the negative to the prospective team members, new team members, and current team members. Contrary to popular belief, this form of expectation setting does not cause team members to lose respect for you. A-player team members will actually gain considerable respect for a leader that tells them what they should not expect.
Invest the time up front. Set crystal clear expectations with your team. Reset expectations if you need to.
It is the best time and energy investment you can make in your team and your company. It sets everyone up to win.
P.s. If you want tasks off your plate, feel free to reach out to me and we can discuss if it is a good fit to work together. Schedule a call here.