The key to achieving team alignment

Ever wondered why your team might be struggling to stay on the same page as each other? The problem could lie in the way that your expectations are communicated  and understood by your team members.

All people – including all leaders – have a set of values and a set of expectations. While the values are the driving, more internal force behind all of our actions, our expectations exist externally and should be plain for everyone to see; expectations are the behavioural boundaries that ensure a great working relationship between you and your team.

What happens when there are no clear expectations?

You’ve likely experienced it in one way or another before; when there aren’t clear boundaries and expectations, team members can lose their way and tension builds between the leader and team members. With everyone working to their own standards, rather than a collective standard, the results can be varied, disappointing or off the mark altogether. When chaotic results start coming through, they can leave leaders and team members alike feeling frustrated and annoyed at each other – hardly the makings for a unified team.

So, how do you get your whole team on board with your expectations?

Be intentional

The start of the year is a great time to have an intentional chat with your team to outline expectations. The holidays are the perfect time to reflect on the way your team operates and this time for reflection is the perfect excuse to bring the topic up in the first few weeks back at work. This is the time to not only be intentional but to be speaking with clarity – be sure that there is no ambiguity in your message and that your expectations are clearly understood by all.

Remind your team regularly

A lengthy chat at the beginning of the year is a great chance to really outline each expectation, but it’s good to remind everyone every chance you get. Whether this is in meetings or in less formal conversations, it’s important to not just tell your team once and then let them forget. Reminding them constantly means that you are giving them their best chance to get it right and you’re giving your team the best chance of succeeding.

Walk the talk

Is there anything quite so disheartening as a leader that doesn’t lead? As a leader, if you have expectations, you have to be prepared to meet them yourself. If you expect your team to be punctual when it comes to meetings, but you haven’t shown up to a meeting on time in the last few months, it might be time to look at your own behaviour. You have to walk your expectations.

Have difficult conversations

Of course, there may be times when the the expectations of your team are not being met. . When members of your team aren’t meeting your expectations, don’t shy away from having those difficult conversations. This is a time to troubleshoot, to really get to the root of the problem and make sure that they are able to leave the conversation with a clearer understanding of your expectations.

Reward met expectations

Met expectations don’t need to be rewarded every step of the way, but at the end of the year – financial or calendar – make sure you take the time to acknowledge and reward your team for their dedication to meeting your expectations. It could be just the thing your team needs to spur them on for the next year!

If your team has hit a rough patch or is struggling to stay on the same page as they approach their work, it might be time to start being clearer and more intentional with your expectations. People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit or call us on 0412 333 415. Our online leadership training videos start from $99 for a year’s access, with new video training added each quarter. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.