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Setting and Managing Expectations in times of uncertainty

Managing expectations is about managing change. There are no simple solutions to managing employees during uncertain times. The majority of people feel anxious, overwhelmed, and worried during these times. It is the Leaders’ responsibility to look after their team and to ensure that the team stays focused and optimistic during challenging times.


12 tips on setting and managing expectations (generally and during uncertainty):


1. Ensure that you (as leader) are looking after yourself and have the right mindset. You need to be optimistic and at peace to be able to support your team.

2. Acknowledge uncertainty and how employees are feeling then develop a plan that focuses on what really matters and what you and your team can control right now.

3. In order to deal with unplanned events, it is important that functions, tasks, and responsibilities are set as early as possible in the planning stage.

4. Set authority hierarchy early on so everyone knows who is reporting to whom and what to keep people accountable.

5. Set realistic goals that are achievable and make sure you plan for when things go wrong.

6. Involve your employees when setting expectations so that they are informed and engaged. Make sure you get their buy-in at every milestone that they are asked to deliver on.

7. Communicate expectations clearly, concisely, and regularly to avoid confusion, poor work quality, time wasting, inefficiencies, employee disinterest and apathy. Communication should be honest, transparent, and with integrity

8. Avoid micromanaging your employees because that has the tendency to make people feel insecure and that their skill and competency is being undermined.

9. Establish feedback and reporting systems that provide employees and management with the opportunity to discuss difficulties and scrutinize tasks in order to avoid major problems developing.

10. Keep the team motivated by offering incentives for work completed on time and within budget.

11. Emphasize the mission, vision, and values of the organisation to employees so that they understand the bigger picture and how they contribute to the organisation’s success.

12. Recognise and communicate a job well done. Active recognition is crucial to build trust, create a culture of resilience and keep employees engaged.


Some Statistics

The pandemic has created new expectations from both employees and employers about the roles and responsibilities of business in today’s society.

Recent research has shown;

• 80% of Australians say the pandemic opened their eyes to acceptable and unacceptable corporate behaviour.

• 90% of employees believe silence is the number one killer of relationships, especially in the workplace.

• 54% of employees say they’ve been satisfied with the level and frequency of communication from leaders throughout the pandemic.

• 26% of employees said they are looking for leaders to provide more transparency about what the organisation knows and doesn’t know.

• 20% of employees wanted more clarity and frequency of communication.


Three personality traits you (or your employees) can work on immediately to help you cope better with change;


1. Adjustment - measures the degree to which a person appears confident, self-accepting, and stable under pressure. If you’re the type of person that remembers their mistakes, worries about not performing, takes criticism personally and is often moody and irritable, then you would benefit greatly from applying some attention to your levels of empathy, calmness, trust and complaining. Raising these scales in your personality will help you better handle pressure, listen to criticism without taking it personally and expect to succeed in life.


2. Prudence – measures the degree to which a person seems conscientious, conforming, and dependable. If you get bogged down with detail or have trouble delegating and tend to micromanage staff, then developing self-awareness and managing your state around the need to be a perfectionist and your preference for predictability is critical. Your aim is to strike a balance between speed and accuracy and to start getting comfortable with ambiguity and lack of structure so that you don’t constantly feel stuck and stressed in your life.


3. Ambition – measures the degree to which a person seems socially confident, energetic, and competitive. If you consider yourself not ambitious, lack self-confidence and career direction, happy to let others take charge and avoid difficult challenges where you may not succeed then start setting small achievable goals, and purposely put yourself in situations that require you to take responsibility and make decisions. This will be extremely uncomfortable and stressful in the beginning but as you become successful at attaining goals and completing tasks your confidence will build and life will flow far more easily.


Remember it has taken a lifetime to form your personality so be kind to yourself and give yourself time to make small incremental changes. It will be worth all the effort.


For more information on how NBPeople can help you easily and quickly identify your personality type, raise your self - awareness and successfully change behaviours that are holding you back, please email us on info@nbpeople.com.au or call us on 0434 309 034 for a personal no obligation discussion. You can also visit www.nbpeople.com.au for more information on our services.