The Necessity of Setting Expectations and Communicating Them to Team Members

Part 4:

I can’t write about trust and team development and managing teams without talking about the necessity of setting expectations and communicating them. Yes, it involves both… setting them and letting each team member know what those expectations are. Everyone needs to know what they are expected to do for each project.

Project team members often have many different talents and can serve in different roles depending on the project. It cannot be taken for granted that team members know what it is they should be doing and how they will be evaluated on their performance. It can seem disgenuine and trust may be violated if expectations aren’t communicated but consequences for performance follow…whatever that may be… deadlines not met, deliverables submitted that aren’t as expected, meetings/calls not attended because required participation wasn’t known. It is difficult to have a conversation about these things if expectations were never set. It is difficult, if not impossible, to foster trust when a person feels sabotaged or not adequately informed. Trust is established when team members know what to do and follow up can be counted on.

As I’ve been writing, and reviewing what I’ve written, it has become apparent to me that you can’t talk about trust without mentioning the valuable skill of listening. We all want to be heard and know that what we say is valued by others. Good listening skills:

  • Are a part of good communication skills.
  • Allow us to learn about others and to respect their experiences and points of view — whether the same or different than ours, and whether 100% relevant to the task at hand or not.
  • Help each team member to ascertain their responsibilities and expectations for the project and clarify anything that’s not clear about those BEFORE it becomes an issue impacting the success of the project.

It is in the project leader’s best interest to create an environment where listening is part of the team culture and expected.

Successful project teams don’t have to rely on team members that necessarily like each other, have the same interests or beliefs, or even share the same physical location. But as I have endeavored to outline in this series of blogs, there are some common elements that contribute to the trust that exists on a project team and the results that they are able to accomplish together.

Did you miss Blueline’s Building & Restoring Trust Webinar? Click here to view the recorded webinar.

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