Have you ever stumbled upon a game-changing nugget of wisdom that’s so brilliantly simple, yet oddly overlooked by most leaders and managers? Well, I have, thanks to my dear friend and colleague, Annabel Graham.

Let’s dive into the concept she shared: the ‘Expectations Conversation.’ It’s not your typical task-oriented talk. No, no. It’s a collaborative sit-down where everyone—from line managers and their reports to peers, project managers and team members, and even customers and suppliers—hash out their mutual expectations.

But it’s not just about the job at hand. It’s a deeper dive into understanding each other—learning about personal work styles, preferred methods of collaboration, and what makes us tick to perform at our absolute best.

That’s not what you asked for?

Ever been in a situation where task expectations weren’t crystal clear? We’ve all been there. Hand over a task, and what comes back is not what you had in mind. Cue the frustrating arguments about who said what!

Lack of clarity in expectations leads to:

– Team members seeking clarity from managers mid-task.

– The delivered work falling short of what managers envisioned.

– Assumptions galore about work quality, approaches, and timing.

– Team members not aligning with the manager’s expectations for behaviors and values.

– Confusion about what team members can discuss with their managers regarding their work.

– Managers unclear about the individual’s needs and support requirements.

– Newbies clueless about how to collaborate with their manager and peers.

– A downward spiral of relationships, stress, and poor performance.

Enter the Expectations Conversations: Preventing workplace miseries.

Whenever a new project, task, or working relationship comes up, take a sweet 15 to 20 minutes to chat about expectations. It’s a chance to understand each other better, uncover challenges, and figure out what’s needed for a successful collaboration.

The key is that it’s a two-way street. If expectations are one-sided, performance takes a nosedive. Both parties need to share and be aware of each other’s needs, preferences, and styles.

Some quick tips for these conversations:

– Introduce the purpose of the conversation to avoid bewildered looks.

– Invest time upfront to build rapport and understanding.

– Prepare thoughtful questions to prompt insightful discussions.

– Managers should ask open-ended questions to understand the team’s preferences and strengths.

– Embrace curiosity—ask, don’t dictate.

– Be honest and encourage others to do the same.

– A bit of vulnerability from the manager can open the floodgates of honesty from others.

Let the magic unfold!

Imagine a workplace where, at the start of every new venture, a brief investment of time results in clarity, understanding, and personal insight. Sounds like a dream, right?

So, go ahead, give it a whirl, and watch the magic unfold. This simple approach has the power to transform your team and relationships. If you want to master this technique, get in touch with us—these game-changing strategies are now part of our leadership, management, and performance coaching training!

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