How To Reset Your Team's Expectations

In Friday’s post, How To Transform Mid-Team, we talked about you how prepare your team for your evolving leadership style. But what if you also have new expectations for your team? Not only are you evolving, but you need them to as well. That’s even more difficult.

Perhaps you will be…

  • asking them to make more decisions
  • holding the team accountable
  • stopping the sidebars in meetings
  • surfacing the conflict
  • ?

Resetting Expectations is a Process

The most important part is communication and consistency. Go slow enough to preserve the trust. Following these steps will help.

  1. Explain why you are changing expectations how did you reach this conclusion?
  2. Share your new expectations for you own behavior–what is changing?
  3. Be specific-what exactly are you asking them to do differently?
  4. Be consistent be careful to stay true to the new standards
  5. Ease into it– be clear on expectations, soft on people give them time to grow into it
  6. Ask for feedback– listen and be willing to adjust the approach
  7. ?

This won’t happen overnight, and it will be messy. Keep the conversation open and learn along the way.

How do you work to reset expectations with your team?

Posted in Communication and tagged , , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, Founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association's 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of 3 books: Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, and Glowstone Peak.


  1. Have the leader take a 360 like the LPI from The Leadership Challenge. The leader rates themselves. The team rates the leader in regards to strengths and weaknesses.

    Have the leader take another LPI in nine months.

    The team decides if the leader has improved.

    A great tool for setting expectations.

  2. I’d say the biggest tip here that helps me is to write it down the change I’m after and review it daily for weeks. For this coming summer, I want to focus on making our team meetings even more efficient. So I’m currently drafting a manifesto of sorts for our meetings. I will then read it before every meeting to remember what I want so I don’t slip into old habits. If I had a dollar for every leadership change I decided to make, but forgot to actually make…I’d have about $320….so not enough to be rich….but enough for a new fishing rod and reel combo I’ve been eyeing.

    • Eric, I love the idea of writing down the changes you want to make and reviewing them. I also am curious about your intentions and what the team wants… I am always looking to improve mine as well. Hmmm… now you’ve got me thinking about if I had a $ for every intention…. and what would I buy 😉

  3. Hi Karin

    Would like to have your expert opinion on following

    Partner and Project Management

    Imagine you are in the following scenario:
    • Previously, your team was unable to deliver a quality piece of work to a partner on time. The work delivered caused significant challenges for the partner.
    • As a response everyone worked very hard and went above and beyond to recover. That issue was resolved.
    • However this set a precedent that then caused the partner to have unrealistic expectations about responsiveness and attention after the scramble period. The partner continues to be demanding even though all of the initial issues have been well resolved.
    • Now that all outstanding issues are resolved, you want to re-set expectations about long-term support and make sure the partner understands that “special” treatment is not the new norm.
    Please draft an email to the partner level-setting expectations. Note: you do not have the option to take the discussion to a meeting; you must re-set expectations entirely via the drafted email.


  4. Hmmmm., this is a very interesting scenario and one I imagine is quite common. First, I’m not sure why a conversation is not an option, I really wouldn’t recommend handling this over email. It sounds like you need dialogue to clear work to set expectations that you can both feel good about.
    I would recommend an open conversation about expectations and why things take the amount of time they do. I’d also be transparent about your process, including quality checks etc. Of course, there’s also the listening part… of why they feel strongly about what they want, and to prioritize what’s most important. My guess is with some healthy dialogue, you can come up with a new agreement you both feel good about. You may also enjoy this.

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