In episode 26 I talked about manuals. Manuals are the things we expect others to do and say, the way we think they should behave according to us. Our manual. The large volume, or volume set we have in our brains about how we are supposed to live and well, others should do the same.
If you haven’t listened, consider listening to that episode first. I’m going to build on it today.
In this episode though, I’m going to approach it from the perspective of a manager. Because the perspective is important. I have many “shoulds” for those around me, but the shoulds of my direct reports do matter because they are essentially the expectations I have, or the goals I have. And those do matter.
In leadership classes, and I may have referenced this before, I give participants a magic wand. I tell them that tomorrow their employees will be magically doing something differently in alignment with what they want more of and less of. I tell them to write those things down. Write a list of what you want: more of and less of. And you know what? It’s an easy task.
You get the idea. Last week I had a class that had an outstanding list, very specific and detailed behaviors. And as I was listening to the group, I thought, wow—wouldn’t that be amazing?
The reality is yes it would and yes it can be accomplished. With no magic wand needed. Because all these expectations can become a reality by using our words. Meaning getting these thoughts and expectations out of our heads, and into the heads of those around us.
Each of these expectations has an impact on the quality of our results. This is not about the judgements we have aka the manual for how others behave to be more like us, this is about affecting results.
We don’t need a magic wand to accomplish this.
So why are we not telling our employees very specifically what we expect? Those things in our heads that we so passionately want?
Explain the reasons we don't.
When we consider the impact of sharing our expectations in a collaborative manner? Think of the power. Consider this:
You’re having a team meeting...
This goes beyond merely stating my expectations. It gets to the heart of why I want it, what it means and how to get more of it. Rather than wishing and hoping it happens, or telling them and getting frustrated that well, I told them, why isn’t it happening. To really creating the environment to support the behaviors.
To modelling collaboration itself and showing them how to do it, coaching as we go.
Here are my nuggets:
· The manual is our list of shoulds for others, how they should behave according to us. This does not serve us well when it’s about our boss, our peers, our family members, our friends—because they get to do whatever they want to do to live their lives according to their own manual.
· The exception is employees (and our children living at home, when we set boundaries on what is expected). Because our job is to influence their actions towards a compelling result. And creating commitment and engagement towards goals is our job.
· You know in your head what you want more of and less of. Write it down. Prioritize it. Decide what behavior, if done tomorrow, would have the biggest impact on results? What would add the most value?
· Then discuss it with either an individual or your team. And this is not about merely stating it, it’s about discussing it. The value of the change, the benefits, the consequences. Create engagement and buy in through the dialogue.
· And then, reinforce it. Communicate it again. Highlight the behavior when you see it. Talk about missed opportunities. Find the challe