Discussions about performance can be sensitive for a number or reason:
- People might lack confidence because they’re new to their role or inexperienced in certain aspects of a project.
- They might feel overload
- They might lack the resources needed to do the job
- You need to assure the availability of the resources for them to do the job.
- They need to be challenged and eager to take on more than they should
- They just don’t agree with your expectations.
One major element in common-they involve people’s feelings-feelings that can interfere with their performance in discussion and on the job.
Addressing Personal Needs
People need to feel valued, appreciated, listened to, and understood. By using the Key Principles during these important discussions, you’ll show them that:
- They are important.
- You value what they have to say.
- You support their effort to do a good job.
The key principals are:
- Maintain or enhance self-esteem.
- Listen and respond with empathy.
- Ask for help and encourage involvement.
- Share thoughts, feelings, and rationale.
- Provide support without removing responsibility.
Maintain or Enhance Self-Esteem
Settings expectation discussions focus on past performance, current skills, and potential success. The personal interactions can increase or diminish people’s self worth Maintain self-esteem when:
- Referring to an objective that was not met.
- You think a person is proposing an objective they can’t reach.
- You suggest that particular behaviour is “developmental”.
When discussing weak or development areas, focus on the facts and share specific examples of what people said or did and the result of those actions. Don’t attack people, make generalizations, or make guess at their motivation.
You’ll also have many opportunities to enhance self-esteem. For example, if team members doubt their ability to achieve an expectation, build their confidence by citing relevant past success and the availability or resources, support and the general competitive environment.
Listen and Respond with Empathy
When people agree to performance expectations, they’re making an important commitment. How well they meet that commitment can affect their reputation, relationship, and career opportunities. A discussion with this much impact can stir up strong emotion. When you listen and respond with empathy, people are more likely to share feelings about setting expectations, such as:
- Being uncomfortable with an objective.
- Feeling anxious about demonstrating a critical behavior.
- Being excited (or concerned) about a “stretch” goal.
- Feeling frustrated about trying to master a particular skill.
Using this Key Principle helps ensure that feelings don’t become roadblocks to effective performance. Once feelings are uncovered, the focus can turn to generating ideas, solving problems, and setting goals.
“ I can see how you’d be worried about not receiving the resources you need. Why don’t we talk about they feel.
When setting expectations with a team, understand that everyone has different feelings. Invite members to share how they feel.
Ask for Help and Encourage Involvement
People closest to the job know it best. Usually they’re good judge of their skill, abilities, and motivations. Involvement is a way of building buying to expectations and commitment to achieving them.
“Does anyone have any thoughts on how we can increase output by 10 percent during the next performance cycle?’
This Key Principle can be especially important when leading people who have more technical expertise than you. Because they’re the experts, you’ll need their full involvement in assessing their strengths and limitations, identifying realistic expectations, and suggesting resources. Involvement is also helpful when you’re leading people who don’t report to you.
Encourage them to drive the process, with you as facilitator, builds self-motivation and ownership of expectations.
As a catalyst, shift your focus from directing others to energizing and guiding them toward success. Invite participation, ask questions to promote creative thinking, help people weigh pros and cons, and focus on potential.
Share Thoughts, feelings, and Rationale
The goal in setting expectations is developing a challenging plan that is achievable and supports the goals of the organization. Everyone must approach the discussion in an open, honest, and collaborative way. One way to ensure this is by sharing your thoughts, feelings, and rationale.
You might have information that others don’t. When you use this information to explain the rationale for an expectation being higher than anticipated or for a certain behaviour seeing as being more important this cycle than last, you help people understand it better and accept it.
You share your thoughts when you provide personal insights, opinions, and perspectives (for example, reacting to an idea, alerting others to a problem, offering you thoughts). Sharing your thoughts provides helpful input and guidance and encourages others to share their thoughts openly.
Solid relationships are built when people express their feelings. In a setting expectations discussion, you might feel uncomfortable with an expectation, excited about new ways to display behaviours, or concerned that some people aren’t participating. Share your feelings and encourage others to do so.
Provide Support Without Removing Responsibility
Few people will be able to develop a solid performance plan and implement it successfully without your support. However identifying and committing to objectives and behaviours must be the responsibility of the person or team.
Your support begin by helping people develop expectations that are achievable, challenging, and in line with the organization’s goals. Encourage others to take responsibility for as much of the thinking as possible. During the discussion you might be asked for or see an opportunity to provide support, such as coaching, obtaining resources, increasing authority, or removing barriers.