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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Character Matters

Character always matters in UK politics, and it matters more than ever now. The age of austerity that will shortly be upon us will require some hard decisions. There will be bruising battles with the public-sector unions; the might of the Whitehall establishment will have to be taken on. The scale and role of government will have to be fundamentally re-assessed because the deficit will demand it. Make sure you vote today!


Make Expectations Clear

The first item in The Gallup Organisation's Q12 survey, which they use to measure employee engagement, is "I know what is expected of me at work." You may be surprised to know that less than 50 percent of the millions of employees who have responded to the survey agreed with this statement.

How can employees do what's expected of them when they don't know what's expected? A big part of the problem is that managers assume their team members are clear because they have their job descriptions, and the manager has, in their own mind, clearly communicated their expectations.

The problem is that meaning resonates in a person's mind, not in the words used to communicate. How many times have people misinterpreted something you said? Your meaning isn't necessarily the same meaning they interpret from your words.

The only way meaning can be effectively transferred is through a two-way discussion--and that is the only way to ensure expectations are clear.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that you and your team members are clear about what is expected of each other:

  1. Make sure you are not only clear about what you expect from each person, but also about the desired outcomes.
  2. Recognise that your team members have expectations of you as well, and they are more likely to meet your expectations if you meet theirs.
  3. Ask each team member their understanding of what is expected of them and what outcomes they believe they are accountable for. Where their understanding differs from yours, reach agreement and get confirmation that you are both on the same page.
  4. During team meetings, make time to get input from all team members on whether expectations are being met, and agree on any changes that need to be made.
  5. If anyone is failing to meet the team's expectations, make sure the expectations are realistic, and if they are, remind them of their commitment to the team, and get agreement to fulfil the expectations.