Setting Clear Expectations

A constant challenge for any manager is managing the performance of employees. We evaluate their technical proficiency, their ability to engage customers and their ability to work as a part of a team. When our employees come up short of our expectations, we become frustrated and we often share our frustration with them. In many cases the employee is hurt, confused or angry because they thought they were doing a good job. While it is easy to place the blame on the employee, most employee performance issues are the result of misunderstood or poorly communicated performance expectations, which is the responsibility of the manager.

It is important to understand that there is a difference between “goals” and “expectations.” Goals refer to a “destination” or a “desired outcome” and are typically driven by metrics. Number of patient referrals, revenue targets and patient satisfaction are examples of business drivers that one may set goals for. Most managers are good at setting and communicating these goals, but fall short in setting and communicating the proper behavioral expectations.

Expectations are the actions and behaviors that will drive these positive outcomes, allowing you and your team to meet or exceed the goal. What do you want them to do? Not do? What do you want them to say? Not say? Don’t just tell them, show them by modeling the behavior. By installing these expectations, you now have every right to hold people accountable to them. In addition, the feedback you provide is better received, as it based upon mutually understood expectations. Ultimately, you have to clearly articulate both goals and expectations to effectively manage performance.

After all, if you don’t clearly set and communicate expectations, your team has no reason to meet them!