It’s human nature to automatically assume that everybody thinks the same way you do. This has been the downfall of many a marriage and definitely many a business relationship.

Many relationships fall down with this because of our failure to realise that we all see the world differently. Our expectations of a job well done compared to someone else’s or your team’s could be totally different.

Similarly, for the team member, they might have a different view of what success looks like or what their expectations of you are as a leader.

We don’t naturally gravitate to defining this because it is quite difficult to do (when you don’t know how!). But it is absolutely vital.

So, how do you clearly define what your expectations are in a way that the person can successfully meet them?

Just ‘saying it’ is not enough and will lead you down a path of failure.

Read on for the ultimate step-by-step guide.



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define expectationsDefine Expectations

Getting clear on what your expectations are and writing them down. You MUST write them down. Don’t just think about it and keep it in your head.

This falls under Three Umbrellas:

First, you have to ask yourself “What’s important to me?” as the business owner and as a leader. This is different for everyone. For some, it is important to have constant contact, constant communication, almost micromanagement. For others, it’s about having the deadline met when they said it was going to be met. For others, It’s about thinking outside the box and problem-solving.

Getting clear on what’s important to you and what’s important for your team to do is number one. Click To Tweet

Second, is understanding exactly what leads to success in a task or what leads to success in a role and being able to clearly demonstrate that so that you set your people up to succeed and, ultimately, to win.

Third, is what defines or equates to value for you when this person is performing their role at an outstanding level. What’s valuable to you? What’s going to give you the sense that you’ve got a positive return on investment and not just wasting cash?


define expectationsMeasure “Success”

Creating clear metrics about what success and what failure look like when it comes to meeting (or not meeting) your expectations.

This is really important from a management perspective both with virtual and local people. You must develop clear metrics on what success looks like and how your team will know if they have succeeded or if they are outside of the scope of success.

It doesn’t have to be over the top and you’re not looking for fancy ways to record everything. It’s about clearly understanding what you expect, what the metric for success is and also the metric for failure.

‘Keep it simple’.

It has to be measurable. It has to be black and white. There cannot be a grey area because the grey is where this will come undone and then it makes it really hard for you and for them.



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define expectationsCommunicate Expectations

Make sure you communicate your expectations with your team both having the written version in front of them and verbally and getting them to repeat back to you their interpretation of what you’ve communicated to them.

Communication is key. However, while it is simple, it is not necessarily easy! This is why so many fail in this area.

While some people love (and need) constant communication through the day and as things are happening, others hate that and find it too distracting. They just want the outcome at the end of the day.

Which one are you? Which one is each person on your team?

You have to create guidelines around your preferred communication style and frequency. Don’t just think it, write it down! Then go through it with your people so that they understand and you can have an open discussion about their natural style too. If they are different to you then they may need more time to adapt and get into your groove. They are not mind-readers so you need to be clear with each other (and not just verbally).

Have a conversation with a written document – allocate meetings to discuss expectations and make a list of how are you are going to meet and measure this together.

In order to set your team up to win, you need them to repeat back to you their understanding of what you expect. Their understanding of what they are going to be measured against, their understanding of what success looks like, of what is an acceptable job, what is an outstanding and what’s an outright fail at the job.

One thing to always keep in mind is, you are working with a virtual team dispersed in different locations. Hence, it is vital to set clear and specific expectations and take full advantage of collaboration technologies to stay on top of things and set you and them up to win.


define expectationsSet Realistic Expectations

Making sure that your expectations are realistic for the role that you’ve invited them into your business to fill!

Are they in the right seat on the bus? Does their skillset serve your expectations and the business? Get clear on that so you don’t try to put a round peg into a square hole.

What if your expectations are completely out of alignment with the level of the role? So, for example, you’ve hired a VA but what you really need is a business coach or a digital strategist to help you to create business growth. Your expectations can be misaligned with the role you have decided to hire for.

You have to find and match the right person with the right skillset to what you expect and what you need. Sometimes it might be a restructure internally, sometimes you may have to let a few people go and re-employ based on what you expect from the role.

Some people confuse a cheaper staff member with a strategist or a coach, who can think of a strategy for them. A VA can implement a lot for you (and most of our Virtual Angel Hub VAs can even come up with ideas in collaboration with our internal team for you) but they cannot replace a strategist or coach in your business.

A VA can implement a lot for you but they cannot replace a strategist or coach in your business. Click To Tweet



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