How to Set Expectations That Set Your Team Up for Success- Part 3

With the beginning of any year, quarter, or project it’s a good time to clearly define what outcomes are needed for success.  Setting clear expectations that link back to the company mission is how leaders ensure their teams are working on the right work at the right time. This is the 3rd and last part in the series, How to Set Expectations That Set Your Team Up for Success. In Part 1 of this series, we explored how the science of motivation and human needs can be applied to setting expectations. In Part 2, you learned 8 practical tips for creating goals with success. In Part 3, you’ll learn 8 Questions to Set Up for Success.

During goal setting, a manager works 1-1 with team members or the whole team to create goals. These goals may be reviewed by the manager’s manager to ensure they support the border organizations goals. A mental checkmark is completed next to the to do to create goals and work gets started. Sounds right. Is there something else missing? Answer these questions to find out what’s missing.
  • Do you know what you expect of yourself? If yes, you can clearly define what you’ve agreed to be the measurement of success and what work you will and won’t do. You know what your beginning priorities are and how you want to show up as a leader. You create your own standard.
  • Does your team clearly know what’s expected of them? If yes, each team member has agreed to SMARTER goals they have written.
  • Does your team know what they can expect from you? If yes, your team knows that you are available to support them and what type of support you’ll provide. They know your strengths and areas where you can mentor and coach them. They know when and how to get your help to remove obstacles in their way.
  • Does your team know what to expect of each other? If yes, your team knows how to work together. They know the values that guide the team and what behavior will help them be successful.
  • Do your supporting partners know what’s expected of them, and they of your team? If yes, your supporting partners know what your goals are, the help you need from them and you know what help they need from you.
If you didn’t say yes to all of the above questions, there is more you can do to see your team and yourself up for success.

Start with Yourself

You expect a lot of yourself! You are driven and want to do a good job. I know you want to be a better leader. I bet if I asked you could list off 5-10 things you’d like to be better at. Take a moment to create agreements with yourself based on what’s most important to accomplish your goals. If you were successful in accomplishing your goals and having a fulfilling personal life what would you have done to make that happen? Get clear now on how you want to measure success for yourself.

Define Key Relationships

Chocolate chip cookies are made by mixing eggs, butter, chocolate chips, flour, and sugar. The chocolate alone doesn’t make a cookie. Goals are the same. They are rarely just our own. Every day a network of people and relationships come together to support you in accomplishing your goals. Every person we work with has expectations of us and their own goals to accomplish. One way to support your team is to help them remove obstacles before they become roadblocks by investing time in getting to know the needs of the people they work and gain their support.

Here is a beginning list of roles to think about: manager; manager’s manager; leadership team; team members; project manager; project members; key decision makers (on your work or your position); anyone accountable for what you are working on; and anyone you need support, information, and time from. Now think of 5 to 7 people you work the most with and are the most critical to your success. When your list is complete, schedule a meeting with each person to get to know them and ask them for feedback.

Feedback & Feedforward

Most of our time is spent in meetings with a work agenda. Decisions need to be made, updates given, and changes approved. These meetings would be more productive and fun if we knew more about the person we are meeting with. The more you know about them, their responsibilities and goals you can understand their point of view on your work. Their perspective will be different as they know different information. That diversity of thinking is valuable to make better decisions. I suggest setting up a time to ask this person for feedback and feedforward. Feedback is past tense and their opinion on how things went. While feedforward is future-oriented on how they want things to be. Below are questions to get you started.
Get feedback about your current relationship
  1. What are you happy about in how we work together?
  2. How did you feel supported by me during the last year/project?
  3. What is one thing you would have liked me to do differently?
Get feedforward about your future relationship
  1. What are your expectations of me this year?
  2. What can I do differently to be more effective in working with you?
Share goals and make agreements
  1. What do you need from me in order to support me in achieving my goals?
  2. How can I support you in accomplishing your goals?
  3. What is one thing you would want from me to make our working relationship a success?

Setting Expectations That Set Your Team Up for Success

Here’s the recap of the most important points from the series.

  • Create SMARTER Agreements that appeal to each person’s natural motivation for autonomy, mastery, and purpose while meeting their needs for certainty, uncertainty, significance, connection, growth, and contribution.
  • Have a common framework for success.
  • Set expectations about what needs to be accomplished and not how they are supposed to do it. The only how to set expectations around, is how they should behave.
  • Clarify expectations and gain agreement with anyone who you need help from.
  • Communicate often. Leaders remind their team of the vision they are working towards and check in on progress to coach them through problems.


    About the Author

    Kim-Elisha Proctor is an Executive Coach, teacher, and writer. For over 15 years, she has worked with companies at all stages of growth and understands the complexity of organizations and leadership that is needed for success. Whether one-on-one coaching, with groups or delivering leadership development programs, her passion is the same: to support leaders to enhance their performance, impact, purpose & well-being to create communities they long to belong to.

    Kim-ElishaLead Smarter