If managing underperformance is one of the greatest challenges for first-time managers, then dealing with unrealistic expectations might be its frustrating younger cousin.
In some cases, it’s even harder to pin the problem down.
With underperformance, it’s often due to a specific behaviour you can point to and work on. His internal communication isn’t good enough which means we’re missing deadlines. The quality of her analysis isn’t sharp enough so clients aren’t getting value from our products. These are things that you can try and fix.
But ‘I’m unhappy because this job isn’t what I thought it would be’. That’s harder.
It can also translate into disgruntled team members trying to drag otherwise happy colleagues into their well of disappointment. Things can get pretty toxic. We’ve seen it happen.
Often by that point it’s too late.
This is one of the lessons from the latest blog post by Katie Wilde, a VP of Engineering at Buffer. In it, she reflects on where misaligned expectations between her and certain team members about their role led to toxic situations and ultimately resignations.
She pinpoints four areas where you can work to get on the same page:
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We’ve compiled a list of questions you can ask your managers and team members to identify the challenges they face, and help you pick the right solutions.