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Top 10 Ways for Setting Clear Expectations for Your Team

“Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion, and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership”.

~ Peter Drucker.


Too often, managers assume their teams can read their minds. Their teams think the leaders are trying to lead through mental telepathy.

Rather than setting and communicating clear expectations—the metrics against which we measure our progress—these leaders assume their employees know what to do and how to do it. What results is hesitation, indecision and uncertainty. Healthy teamwork, initiative and productivity go out the window.

Properly setting expectations for employees or team members is a vital aspect of quality workplaces, according to a huge study of managers undertaken in the 1990s by The Gallup Organization. Below are some tips on setting clear expectations that will set standards for excellence and results.

  1. Start with a vision of what you want the end result to look like. Not just what you want done, but the results you want to achieve when the project is completed. What does “done” look like?
  2. Discuss how you define “excellent performance”. Paint a complete picture. Refer to your performance review form. Don’t assume.
  3. Keep your focus on the desired outcomes, not on describing each and every step to follow. Your goal is to guide, not control. Letting individuals find their own route toward productive outcomes encourages them to use their strengths to their fullest potential. And they may actually come up with a better way than you thought of!
  4. Tie the mission of the department to each job. People want to know that their role, whether large or small, makes a difference. They like to feel as if their work has purpose. Let them know it does and how it does.
  5. Put the expectations in writing. The vast majority of us have faulty memories and tend to remember things the way we want to remember them. Writing it down gives consistency to the expectation and can be referred to later for clarification.
  6. Stay on the sideline. You may be tempted to run in and play the game for a subordinate, but if you do, no one will learn a thing. Don’t be an enabler. Let them develop into the team members and future leaders you want them to be.
  7. Give feedback—and often! The annual performance review is too late to let staff members know how they are meeting your expectations. Schedule informal reviews weekly (up to quarterly for larger departments). Feedback given along the way sounds more like coaching, not like punishment. And remember, Millennials crave/demand it!
  8. Ask for staff members’ feedback on how they think they are doing. The more two-way communication, the greater the clarity around the expectations. It also puts them in charge of their performance so they’re self-monitoring versus you playing performance police.
  9. Give positive reinforcement (and don’t mix negative and positive). Mention the thing you like and you’ll get more of it. Be specific and prompt.
  10. Don’t take it personally. When staff members don’t perform as you think they should have, look for solutions, not blame. See number 8. Ask them!

How have you been successful (or unsuccessful) at setting clear expectations for your team? Share with us!

For information on leadership, Hiring the Golden Unicorns, Emotional Intelligence & Negotiations, Strengthening your Inner Genius, or any of our programs, call us at 682.200.1412 or go to http://www.apexmastery.com/


The Power of Your Mind

A few weeks ago I wrote about What Rules are Holding You Back? because I was using this tool with a few of my clients who seemed stuck. And in the sessions they seemed to get these huge Ah Ha’s – so I wanted to share with you.

I said that 90% of our brains are the subconscious (and unconscious) that accept what we tell it about ourselves (whether we tell it positive or negative things) and then the brain looks for opportunities to prove those things to be true.

This week one of my clients told me she feels fabulous and hasn’t felt like this in years … all because she has taken this exercise we did and internalized it. She has given me permission to write this – and I think it may help you see the power of your mind and this simple process!

Here were a few of her Old Rules:

  • I can’t be anything more than an assistant (even though I have a masters degree)
  • I won’t be successful because I’ve made too many mistakes and I need to pay for it.
  • I’ll never be a good parent.

Can you resonate with any of these?

We looked over them and she had the choice of keeping them, changing them, or creating new rules to take the place of the old rules.

Here are her New Rules:

  • I am creating and envisioning a new way to make a living.
  • I am successful because I recognize my strengths and gifts.
  • My child is beautiful, awesome, strong and I shaped his mind and moral compass.

How powerful are these statements?!

Then we made the New Rules into I AM statements because your brain believes what you tell it I AM. So she said:


Look at the previous blog with the instructions and do these yourself. You will be astounded at the power of your mind to give you what you focus on! Then say the I AM statements and the New Rules daily (multiple times a day accelerates the process) for at least 66 days so they are ingrained in your subconscious mind and they ARE WHO YOU ARE. They are more than just words at that point – they are THE TRUTH.

Here are some of the statements she told me today – just 2 weeks of saying these new truths to herself:

  • I have processed these rules so thoroughly that I feel like a new person! I’ve claimed who I am!
  • Life isn’t perfect, but I realize now that everything that is lacking are simply things I haven’t done yet. It’s not a flaw anymore. It’s a whole different approach to how I see myself and what I am capable of doing. I am going forward with happiness!
  • I had such a weight on my shoulders I feel like I’ve lost 50 pounds by not carrying around the incredibly heavy burden of junk.

Are you carrying around an incredibly heavy burden of junk? Are you ready for lifting that unnecessary burden from your shoulders? Go through this process and be willing to change how you see yourself. And if you want someone to go through it with you, who can ask you the questions that will help you go deeper, please contact us at Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com for a one-time $99 investment in changing your life.

What Rules are Holding You Back?



Each of us have been given and have created rules by which we live our lives – whether we recognize them or not.

They can be rules like:

  • I must eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day (we learned this from the Surgeon General)
  • I will never be financially secure (our mistakes with the credit card companies)
  • I have to do everything on my own, no one will help me (someone let us down)

Our brains are fabulous. 90% of our brain is our subconscious and unconscious, and we have trained it with all of these rules we have said to it over the years. Because of this training (reinforcing the rules through saying it repeatedly), our brain “helps us” by looking for situations in which to prove our rules are true.

So, even though we don’t want to believe our rules, such as I will never be financially secure, we keep sliding back into that behavior that helps perpetuate us continually being in debt – because our brain is subconsciously giving us opportunities to be in debt and giving us the excuses to do it! “Oh well, I’ve been doing so well on paying down my credit cards, one little purchase won’t hurt.” And then a week later you’ve maxed out your card again and you don’t know how it happened!

Let’s stop the unconscious living of our lives and step into intentionality and clarity! Here are 4 steps to more conscious living:

First – Old Rules. Write down some of the old rules that are holding you back. Get a list of at least 4 or 5 to start with (we live with hundreds going on in our brains, so it will take a while to ferret out the ones we choose NOT to live by anymore!).

Second – Determine. Now look at each rule and decide whether you want to keep it, change it, or eliminate it.

  • If you decide to keep the rule, just know that you will continue to face whatever consequences or opportunities that arise out of the rule. Sometimes we aren’t ready to face changing them, so it’s perfectly normal to say, “I can’t change this rule yet.” You can come back to this one later after success with some other rule shifts.
  • If you choose to change the rule, how would you like the rule to read instead? Instead of I will never be financially secure, you may say something like: I have financial abundance. The key here is that the new rule must be as strong and powerful as the old rule, or the old rule will eventually win out.
  • If you choose to eliminate the rule all together, you must fill it with something else. As you know, the world abhors a vacuum. If you don’t fill it with something positive, something else will fill its place – and/or the old rule will see there’s still room for it and just move back in. So, what new rule do you want to live by?

Third, now take that new rule and parse it down even further into a 3 or 4 word I AM statement. For example, with the new rule of I have financial abundance, your new I AM statement may be … I AM Abundance!

For all three of these steps, make sure they are words that resonate truth with you – both the old rules and the new rules. Whether you believe the new rules or not yet, do they still ring true? If not quite yet, keep working on the wording until you say, “YES, that’s me!” (or “that will be me once I make it habit!”)

Fourth, write out/print out your new I AM statements and your new rules and put them where you can see them and say them out loud every day. Research shows that it takes 66 days (not 21) to turn a new habit into part of who you are (subconscious thought vs conscious thought). For 66 days you will say each of these I AM statements and the rules out loud. You are retraining your brain that THESE are the new rules you live by. And eventually you will see that your brain will give you new opportunities to prove these new rules are true.

Share some of your new rules and I AM statements with us. We would love to hear them!