Good managers may have high expectations of their team members, but how high should your expectations be in order to maintain a motivated team?
Setting goals which push staff to achieve their best can lead to very positive results. High performing people like to be challenged and welcome the opportunity to take on interesting projects.
However, setting unrealistic goals can have a negative impact on employees and the wider business. Employees get a buzz from hitting their targets and achieving their objectives. If their goals are unrealistic, your team members can feel like they aren’t succeeding in their roles which can impact their self-esteem, motivation and productivity. More widely, if your team regularly misses targets, this could lead to questions being raised about you, your management skills and your ability to help your staff to achieve their goals.
Setting unrealistic expectations can even affect the quality of your team’s outputs. For example, team members may be tempted to try to rush work, cut corners and not take proper care. This can lead to mistakes and poor quality outcomes. If you set unrealistic expectations around deadlines, your staff may need to spend longer on projects which could result in cost overruns.
In order to avoid setting unrealistic expectations, managers need to think before setting objectives. Wanting something to be completed quickly, doesn’t necessarily mean it can be completed in that timeframe.
Take a step back and consider the amount of work required and what resources you have available, before setting a deadline. You may also need to manage the expectations of your own manager or CEO.
As a manager, it is important to support your team as much as possible. Instead of setting expectations and putting increased pressure on staff to perform, try mentoring them in order to help them achieve the best possible outcome. Working with your team in this way is more satisfying and productive.