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Activate Human Capital Group Blog


5 Things People Mean When They Say Expectations Aren’t Clear and What to Do About It

Effective communication in the workplace can make the difference between smooth sailing on the high seas and jumping ship when you hit an iceberg. In every workplace, clear expectations come from open, clear, and concise communication. Oftentimes there are five major boundaries to communication between leaders and employees. Once leaders recognize the pitfalls that can interfere with effective communication, simple changes can be made to ensure everyone is on the same page and the office atmosphere is inviting, engaging, and most importantly, productive.

Let’s consider the nuances of these 5 tips for managers:

  1. Ongoing Conversation vs. Annual Event
  2. Affirm What’s Working
  4. Walk a mile in their shoes
  5. Set employees up for success

ONGING CONVERSATION: When communicating expectations with employees it’s important to make it an ongoing conversation. Rather than the typical yearly review, it’s important to foster a trusting relationship where expectations are clearly outlined and is a regular part of the conversation. This allows for a more fluid approach to addressing and correcting concerns. It’s also a valuable way to communicate when an employee is doing well which in turn keeps them engaged and more invested in succeeding.

AFFIRM WHAT’S WORKING: While some of tips for effective communication sound simple at the offset, there can be more nuance that goes into it. For example, affirm what’s working seems simple enough. However, many leaders tend to focus on failures and how to remedy them rather than focus on what’s going well and how to duplicate those results in failing areas. With a simple positive mindset twist, managers can ensure employees are excited to see ways to succeed and bring change to their department in meaningful ways. When things are going well, it’s important to praise people for their efforts. Whether it be a formal announcement to the team, or a personal note of affirmation during a one-on-one, employees are more apt to feel more appreciated and therefore stay engaged and motivated.

BE HONEST!: Trust cannot exist in the absence of honesty because honesty is a hallmark of all meaningful relationships. For managers the thought of being honest with their employees can be frightening, however honesty is what separates the secrecy and stress of one office apart from the peace and tranquility of another. When employees trust their managers to be straightforward and honest, there leaves little room to insight gossip and undermining. Being upfront about your responsibilities and management with your employees both humanizes you with your employees and reinforces the business’s goals. This goes double when it comes to not having the answers to questions. Honestly communicating even means admitting when you don’t have an answer, but also reassuring that as soon as you do, you will communicate it to the team.

WALK A MILE IN THEIR SHOES: Great leaders spend a significant amount of time contemplating how to build their team and to get the best work out of those members. To do so, it takes a great deal of time and energy to get to know all the players and be able to put themselves in their employees’ shoes. By stepping into their shoes, a manager can create communications that are built based not upon how they would feel most comfortable delivering information, but instead, in the most effective way the receivers of the information will understand, relate to, or be able to process this information.

SET EMPLOYEES UP FOR SUCCESS: Lastly, managers who become coaches and learn to assign strengths-based workloads find their communications with employees is more effective and meaningful. When managers take the time to identify and invest in the strengths of their employees by setting them up to succeed, they’re investing in employee growth, productivity, and retention. Employees begin to see their managers as coaches or mentors who are stacking the deck in their favor and will go above and beyond to deliver excellent results.  

Effective communication in the workplace is less about understanding expectations and more about creating a partnership atmosphere. To learn more about effective communication and employee expectations, contact Activate Human Capital Group by phone at 530-713-6359 or through our website. Our experienced staff can help create meaningful ways for managers to improve organizational communication thereby increasing productivity and offering the opportunities engaged employees crave. We specialize in activating engagement so your organization can thrive.