Improving Performance with Clear Expectations

Giving specific, appropriate feedback is the quickest, cheapest, and most effective intervention for improving performance. Clarifying expectations is the first step in a coach’s ability to give specific, appropriate feedback.

When people have to guess what they are supposed to do it creates tension and they won’t do their best work. Avoid telling people to “do their best”. What does “do your best”mean? What does “try harder” mean? What does a “comprehensive report” look like?

Sometimes workers know they are doing things they should not be doing, but they don’t realize it is a problem.To avoid this, ask employees:

  • How do you know when you are doing a good or bad job?
  • How do you measure the quality of your performance?
  • How do you know when you do something wrong?
  • Describe what good performance looks like.
  • Describe what bad performance looks like.

When people clearly understand what is expected of them, it reduces the relationship tension and improves their ability to perform up to the coach’s expectations.

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