The art of providing expectations: Get input and the earlier the better

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The Manager by Designsm blog seeks to provide great people management tips and awesome team management tips.  An important skill that managers need to have is the act of providing expectations for how the team and individuals operate.  In my previous article, I discussed how it is necessary for a manager to provide expectations for the repeatable, established tasks. But this does not describe all of the tasks that many teams are expected to perform.

Many times teams, in addition to the repeatable work, are doing something for the first time, and must go through iterations to get it right and get the work done.  These are situations where the work does not have an established, repeatable rhythm, but is filled with problem-solving, new ideas and creative efforts.  So in addition to the repeatable tasks, let’s talk about providing expectations for forging forward into unknown territory, which increasingly describes many work teams!

Because something is new, this does not mean that a manager does not need to set expectations.  Instead, the manager must provide expectations on the level of how the team works together to achieve the goals set out for them.

So when I say “providing expectations,” I’m describing the act of establishing both the “what” the team on works on and “how” the team works together.  It is the act of setting the baseline understanding of what the team does and how it does it.  And once the repeating tasks are established and the criteria for quality are determined, these expectations can then be provided.

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