Employees want to be told how they are going and what is expected of them.

Have you ever thought to yourself …

Why don’t my team just do what’s expected?

I wish I knew what my boss wanted from me?

When you’re left pondering, it’s most likely because expectations have not been articulated fully or articulated clearly.

There may be a range of valid reasons for why expectations are not being met:


  • don’t care
  • don’t know how to get their team to achieve the outcomes
  • don’t know how to do their job/s
  • don’t listen….

Let’s start with, “Why don’t my team / managers just do what’s expected?”


Check understanding: be sure they understand the expectations the way you intended. Simply asking, “Do you understand?” is not enough. You might want to check by stating something such as:

“I’m sure there may be questions that will pop up or I may not have been as clear as I think I have been.  So I can fill any gaps, what do you understand my expectations are?”

Is the frustration you experience due to outcome or process? 

… If it’s process, how important is it that your managers achieve the outcomes ‘your way’? Do you operate on the principle of ‘my way or the highway’?

… If it’s outcome, how clearly have you defined the outcomes, such as, are the outcomes specific and measurable?

Be sure to know the workload of your people and their current priorities. Do you keep loading your people with more and more expectations and required outcomes without checking current priorities?

Now let’s get into, “I wish I know what my boss wanted from me?”


Quite simply, ask! If your boss is not forthcoming with clear expectations then go and ask what they are. Be polite, of course, but ask!

Do some research for yourself, take responsibility for seeking out clarity and being proactive. Bosses may not always be openly appreciative of it but they are grateful for the proactive initiative taken.

When communicating or clarifying expectations it is important to break them down into their simplest forms. Keeping expectations clear and simple helps reduce risk of error, loss and heartache.


What is your experience of not having clear expectations?