There are five strategies that can help managers set expectations that will allow their employees to perform better and reduce their own frustration and stress in the workplace. We discussed the first two in the previous blog and will discuss the last three in this blog.
Strategy #3: Establish a realistic deadline.
It is important to consider what you can reasonably expect of an employee before you set a deadline. There are many factors that can affect your decision about the length of time it should take for the employee to complete the task. For example: the employee’s current work load and deadlines; the complexity of the task; if the employee has performed the task before or is new to the assignment; and the availability of the resources necessary to support performance of the task.
If you need the task performed within a specific deadline that has no flexibility, then review the employee’s current workload, rearrange priorities and deadlines for other tasks, and/or focus in on what absolutely needs to be done by the finite deadline.
Strategy #4: Avoid projecting what you expect of yourself onto others.
You may have very high expectations for yourself. You may work long hours or be a super achiever who needs little sleep or limits your social and personal life so you can outperform those around you. Just because you have set these expectations for yourself and you choose to make personal sacrifices to meet them does not mean you can expect others to act the same way.
You may also have a set idea regarding how to execute a task. You need to allow the employee the flexibility to select his or her own approach as long as it will achieve the performance goal.
Make sure that you set expectations that are realistic for the individual who will be performing the task, not those you set for yourself.
Strategy #5: Do not expect perfection.
If you are perfectionist, it is probable that you expect perfection from others. Don’t do that. This can be seriously damaging to your work and personal relationships.
Accept that perfection is difficult if not impossible to achieve. If you set expectations that high, you will always be disappointed. Since your employees will never be successful, they will begin to feel like failures and their morale will plummet. It is possible that you will end up having to perform the task because no one else meets or wants to meet your expectations.
Set expectations that satisfy these simple criteria: they are reasonable, necessary and sufficient.