Team Leaders Must Communicate Expectations

Jun 15, 2010
3 Min Read

Team leaders, heed this warning: good upfront communication is critically important to successfully integrating a new employee into your team.

If you do not make your expectations known, and you do not provide the new team member with the information he needs to do his job well, then you cannot complain when he falls short.

They Don't Know What They Don't Know

New team members “don’t know what they don’t know.”  It is your responsibility as the leader to share protocols on your team and in your organization, how business is conducted with co-workers and clients, and best practices for delivering work product.   Never assume that unspoken rules should be understood by the new team member, especially if he is young or inexperienced in your type of company.  If it doubt, spell it out.

Don't Fire Your Way Out of the Problem

Since most employers are at will, this means that if you have hiring and firing responsibilities and a new team member royally screws something up, you can let her go if you want.  In all honesty, you probably aren’t going to get sued, and it probably won’t negatively impact your career.  But if you fire someone for doing something that’s a direct result of your failure to communicate, then you should feel ashamed.

Mistakes Are Learning Opportunities for Both of You

The screw up should actually be a valuable lesson to both of you.  The team member should be provided with the opportunity to do things differently next time, and you should examine why you didn’t instruct her properly in the first place and hopefully adhere to a higher standard with your next new team member.

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