by Michael Holland     

Do your employees ever “miss the mark?” Sometimes, do things get done in a manner you didn’t expect or didn’t want? Those are the times to hold back and first ask yourself, “where wasn’t I clear?” Our first instinct is to often “blame the employee” and analyze what he or she did wrong. But as an effective manager, you also need to consider what you did wrong. Frequently, we haven’t been clear in our expectations.

In addition to telling a person what to do, consider including what behaviors she needs to demonstrate to be successful. What else will she need to pay attention to, what a good job will “look like.” With clear and specific expectations, including measurements and feedback, it is much more likely success will be achieved the first time.

Of course, make sure to document your clarifying expectations conversation so that you can offer praise to the employee during your next situational coaching opportunity.  Or, if necessary, you are well prepared to take “appropriate corrective action.”