This blog is part of a serie. You can find the first one here.
Setting expectations with your direct team, your manager, your customer or the people you collaborate and work with is a best practice and I believe it is important to define it from the beginning (of the engagement, project or task).
You can set up expectations on many things, so that you do not leave things unclear, this way there is less stress and less confusion for everyone, and as a consequence there is more harmony and efficiency too.
Here some examples of things that I find helpful to set clear expectations about.
How will the communication be carried out? Will you use emails, Slack, teams, whatsapp and/or a combination? And what for?
For example, emails can be used to share more official things, documents, etc. Slack/ Teams can be used to ask questions, share progress or drafts, collaborate on something together. Whatsapp can be used if something very urgent comes up and the person you are trying to reach is not reading emails, Slack/ Teams or whatever other communication tool you use.
How do you like to work? And what about the people you work with?
Work style refers to how you like or prefer to organise your work environment and assignments, if you prefer to collaborate or if you need some focus time and when preferably. It varies on the individuals and it is important to make sure that you understand your own working style and your team, customer, colleagues. I find this article from HBR to be quite interesting to drill down to different working styles.
Is there a need for a regularly scheduled meeting and how often? Who is responsible for setting it up and for the agenda?
Having a weekly meeting on a project might work in certain circumstances, but as the deadline approaches, you might want to increase the frequency of the meetings and check in more often. And do not forget to make notes, they will be of help!
What have you discussed and what are your takeaways? Are there next steps/ actions and who is responsible for what?
After having a meeting it is best practice to summarise your notes (you took notes, right?) and send them (via email or teams or slack) to the rest of the team and/or your manager.
Never underestimate taking good notes during your meetings, they are very helpful. People forget more than half of what was discussed and very often there are miscommunications, unclear responsibilities, unclear outputs and the important actions and next steps can be forgotten.
These are just some examples, you can set expectations on many more things.
In general, setting expectations will influence the quality of your work and in a sense also your relationship with people you work with,
This is why I strongly believe it should become something you want to practise daily, as it can effectively alleviate stress, improve communication, and promote a greater sense of peace of mind for all involved
Please, continue to follow this blog serie if you are interested to drill down more.
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