Management by expectations

I’ve always been a great believer in people. I don’t think many people set out to fail in their jobs, or set out to fail to complete a task or a project.

I do think there are a lot of managers who find it difficult to let go. They insist on telling their team what to do – sometimes in great detail – and quite often forget to tell the team why they are doing something.

The worst of these are the managers who forget to communicate altogether, so that the team carry on doing what they have always done. The fact that the boss wants them to do something else passes them by – the boss didn’t tell them, he expected the team to be telepathic!

You might be thinking “That would never happen here” but what if you go into a board meeting at the end of the day. You have a detailed and somewhat heated discussion in the board meeting and agree to do something different. You leave the meeting to find everyone has gone home for the day.

That night, your mind is buzzing, working out all the ramifications. The following morning, you have worked out a plan and you stride into the office & start issuing instructions.

The team weren’t in that meeting; they weren’t part of the debate. You’ve changed direction and they don’t know why or where we are all going!

An alternative management strategy is to manage by setting expectations. You focus on the outcome, not the tasks that might lead to the outcome. The team working for you have a series of goals. They know what you are expecting, and it is down to them to make it happen. You are empowering them to get on, use their brains and skill to get to the desired outcome.

If you couple this management style with supportive language and actions “Let me know what help you need to achieve this” you’ll really engage the team and get fantastic results.


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