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Do You Communicate or Assume?

Sean Lynch, November 2, 2015


Do You Communicate or Assume?

During my time inside a wide range of client organizations, I’ve noticed a recurring theme: Team leaders could be better at communicating intent and performance expectations.

Many workplaces operate on a combination of partially communicated expectations and assumptions, which often leads to frustration. Some expectations and performance standards are explicitly communicated, while others are assumed. People assume since folks have worked here for 10 years, went to training, or talked to so-and-so, that they know what to do.

Don’t let assumptions rule!

Ensure all performance standards and expectations are communicated upfront and understood. Doing so will:

  • Get everyone on the exact same page. If team members completely understand what is expected of them, they can work toward expectations even when you’re not there.
  • Make establishing accountability easier. If everyone understands expectations upfront, accountability simply entails comparing performance to standards. Clearly communicated standards also keeps accountability from becoming personal. Holding someone accountable is not between you and them. It is between their performance and the standard.
  • Eliminate perceptions of unfairness. By communicating upfront, ensuring understanding, and holding everyone to the same standard, we avoid issues of unfairness, or playing favorites.

Make a “back to the basics” push. Clearly communicate, or review, all performance standards, intent, and expectations. Ensure everyone understands. Then, establish accountability by comparing performance to what was communicated.

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