Clear and realistic expectations are a big deal.
What can you expect from your team, what can they expect from one another and what can they expect from you? This is a tough one, right? Every person has an individual set of expectations that arise from values, personal motivators, prior experience and life in general. Certain workplace expectations are easy to name and agree upon, while some are pretty hazy or unspoken and hard to identify. Where is the line between personal and purposeful?
The easily named expectations should be put in writing and openly discussed so that everyone is clear and held accountable. This is your contract with one another…your policy statement that is based on realistic and achievable day-to-day expectations.
The hazy, less identifiable expectations are based on assumptions, which are personal.
Think about the different personalities, different skills and different motivators of you and your team. Honouring those differences contributes to a workplace that works. We all have some manner of conditioning that leads to assumptions of how people, including ourselves, should be because of their career path, credentials, economic status, family situation, appearance, age, race, gender and so on. Intellectually, we know that we are all equal as human beings, but subconsciously, it’s a different story.
In your workplace (and everywhere else), personal assumptions can end up in resentments, divisiveness, competition and other negative expressions like bullying that create the opposite effect of what makes a workplace work. People will behave in ways to gain the upper hand, even if they don’t know they are dong it. That puts you right back into the power and control workplace instead of the empowered and self-controlled one that you want.
Awareness and transparency.
As part of your clear expectations, why not build empowerment right into your policy? An inclusive leadership approach, keeping things neutral and focused on the Primary Purpose and creating Clear Roles takes care of many of the triggers for control games. The next step is to bring awareness of these behaviours to your team and to empower them to neutralize them (the behaviours, not the people). Once you see something, you can’t unsee it. With these hazy control tactics, once you are aware of them, you can’t become unaware.
If you would like to explore this train of thought further, and bring it into your workplace, stay tuned for the launch of the workshop series, A Workplace That Works.
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