Be Accountable for Setting and Receiving Clear Expectations – FOW #15

Photo Credit to Chris Holger

Make sure your expectations are clear and what people hear is what you are asking. Be clear about what’s expected of you. 

This fundamental seems quite simple and obvious, in theory. While in practice, it can become quite complex.  This has to do with the fact that humans are the ones doing the speaking and listening in setting and receiving clear expectations.  And we can tend to be complex creatures when it comes to communication.  To keep it simple, I’m going to briefly touch on two of the aspects here.

SPEAKING:  Let’s start with making sure your expectations are clear.  Are they specific,measurable and set in time?  Your best bet is to frame what you are asking for in the form of a request, which incorporates these three elements.  Also, a request is only a request if the person has the opportunity to accept, decline or provide a counter-offer to what you are asking of them.  This allows them to take full ownership of the request and be accountable for delivering the outcome you are expecting.

LISTENING:  Then there is making sure what people hear is what you are asking.  When it comes to listeningit is useful to note there are two sets of interpretations going on about what is being said.  So it’s crucial that you check out what they heard you say.  If you have a true commitment to collaborate effectively, this is one of your best tools.  And the same goes for being clear about what is expected of you – repeat back what you heard.  In both circumstances it provides you the chance to hold the accountability with them in gaining clarity, alignment and ultimately a successful result.

So whether your communication is taking place face-to-face, voice-to-voice or email, practice being accountable, in partnership, for setting and receiving clear expectations.

All my best,