Managing Boundaries and Expectations With Your Team

As a manager, getting your team to work together like a well-oiled machine is one of your most important (and toughest) jobs.

You might have a team made up of brilliant individuals with unique strengths but it’s up to you to get everyone pulling in the same direction.

How can you achieve this?

I think the best place to start is by managing boundaries and expectations with your team.

If your team don’t know what you expect from them and they aren’t clear on roles and responsibilities, things can go awry. How will people know if they are performing well or not? What direction should they be going in? Is what they are doing contributing towards the wider business goals?

None of these questions are answered if boundaries and expectations aren’t set, and the result is that engagement and performance suffers.

You wouldn’t hire an architect and a team of contractors to design and build your dream home without first telling them exactly what you want and expect, so don’t expect your team to produce the goods if they aren’t clear on your expectations.

Here are some practical tips on managing boundaries and expectations with your team. 

Set clear boundaries

This is the best place to start. To achieve success for the business, everyone needs to be on the same page. As manager, it’s your job to give your team clear direction and set boundaries on things like what behaviour is expected of them and what falls within the scope of their work. This is not about being a dictator, it’s about giving your people the guidance they need so they can do well.

Communicate clearly and regularly

Whether your team is all together in the workplace or some people are working remotely, clear, regular communication is important.

Have regular team meetings to communicate to team members exactly what you need them to do and by when, and communicate the business vision, values, and goals often so that everyone understands what they are working towards.

Remember too that communication is a two-way street, so make time to let team members express their concerns and share ideas, while you simply listen and understand. With remote working, it is even more important to make time for two-way communication.  And consider different ways of getting communication, from surveys to meetings.  Consider the use of Slido and anonymously shared documents.

Clarify roles and responsibilities

Every team member should be clear on their responsibilities and how their role contributes to the bigger picture. This can improve engagement and make people feel a part of something bigger than themselves.

If your team are struggling with this, then get them together to explore how it fits with the business vision.

Set goals to get people motivated

Goals can set the direction for your team and keep everyone on track when things get stressful. Set goals for your team that are challenging, measurable, and inspiring to get everyone pulling together as a unit. If they align with individual goals and wider strategic goals, even better.

Keep them in view and make sure you discuss them regularly.  Explore through open questioning when goals aren’t been met but do not single out individuals.

Give feedback (and be open to receiving it)

One of the best ways to ensure continuous improvement, progress, and better performance is giving honest, constructive feedback to your team members. Just like communication, this is a two-way street, so be prepared to ask for and receive feedback from your team as well. This builds trust, creates better relationships, and makes for a more harmonious and high-performing team.

Create a sense of being a team

Last but not least, setting expectations is not just about behaviour and responsibilities, it’s also about letting your team know what they can expect from you and what they can expect when they are part of your team.

Work together to create some team values, encourage personal connections and collaboration, and let people know that your door is always open. If people feel like they belong and they are needed for team and business success, everyone benefits.

Discuss strengths too, and how they work across the team.  Encourage people to support one another and learn from each other.

How equipped do you feel to get your team pulling in the same direction?

Are you struggling to motivate your team and get them on board with changes that need to happen to realise the business vision?

Do you need help to turn things around but does the idea of spending money right now make you feel nervous?

Ask yourself this, If you get no help, what will change?

Investing in getting some help will help your team and the business grow and develop, and the result will be better performing, more profitable teams who want to work together for the good of the business.

Want to know exactly what’s possible?

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