As manager of your team, you play the most important role in defining your group’s culture, dynamics, ethics, productivity and effectiveness. That is not to say the members of your group do not play a role, they do. But you, as their manager, are the primary driver.

As manager of your team, you play the most important role in defining your group’s culture, dynamics, ethics, productivity and effectiveness. That is not to say the members of your group do not play a role, they do. But you, as their manager, are the primary driver.


That said, consider the following:




Work ethic

Business ethics

Innovation

Want for quality

Service orientation

Teamwork

Each of the above items will play itself out differently in the workplace. Your job as the manager is to set expectations as to your requirement in each of the above areas. Before discussing each of these items, one at a time, understand that the best way to help your group meet your expectations is for you to lead by example. In other words, the first one in your group that should meet your expectations is you.


Your work ethic expectation should include the number of hours people worked, willingness to work extra hours if needed, long or short lunches, and most important, how hard you work when you’re in the office.


Your business ethics expectation should be a combination of following company policies, laws, industry regulations, and dealing with internal and external clients/customers with integrity and honesty.


Your innovation-based expectations should be related to using out-of-the-box thinking to develop new processes, products, and efficiencies, and enhance the capability of your department’s function.


Your want for quality expectation should require your team to always strive for perfection in their daily tasks. Of course achieving perfection is unrealistic, but having it as your ideal goal, can help your team maximize quality.


Your service orientation expectation should be related to your department’s function within the company. If your department interacts with company clients and/customers, do so with the utmost service principles in mind. If your department works strictly within the company and is not client facing, treat your internal clients/coworkers with the same respect you would offer external paying customers.


Your teamwork expectation should be that, as the expression goes, “All ships rise in high tide.” This means that when the department is working well, it’s good for everyone.


Just setting these expectations is not enough. As mentioned above, you must personally exemplify them. Don’t fall into the trap of “Don’t do what I do, do what I tell you.” If it works at all, it won’t work for long. Additionally, you need to continually encourage these expectations and other expectations that are important to you. This encouragement can be in various forms. It can be compensation based, recognition based, peer pressure based, and/or using other appropriate incentives. It also requires, however, your willingness to provide constructive criticism or stronger appropriate discipline if needed.


In closing, the expectations listed above may not be exactly right for your department. There may also be other important expectations that would be of value to your group that I did not include here. The important thing here is to understand that setting concrete expectations for the team and reinforcing them in an appropriate manner can truly help your department’s success, and your personal success as their leader.


The primary advice and takeaways from today’s column is to know that:




Setting concrete expectations for the team can help ensure team success.

As team manager/leader lead by example.

The expectations listed above should be viewed as your starting point. Modify them in a way that will help you and your team meet your specific business objectives.

For additional information on today’s topic, I suggest the book “Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances” by J. Richard Hackman.


Until next time, manage well, manage smart and continue to grow.


Eric P. Bloom, based in Ashland, Mass., is the president and founder of Manager Mechanics LLC. He is also a nationally syndicated columnist, keynote speaker and author of the award winning book “Manager Mechanics: Tips and Advice for First-Time Managers.” Contact him at eric@ManagerMechanics.com, follow him on Twitter at @EricPBloom, or visit www.ManagerMechanics.com.