Setting Expectations and Mutual Goals

By Liz Belcher, CPA
Senior Manager, Tax Services

A workplace is a melting pot of diverse experiences, expectations, perspectives and personalities. Therefore, you can’t always expect everyone to share the same vision for the organization and their roles and responsibilities within the team. So, how do you effectively set expectations and mutual goals?

When you talk to employees, you’ll want to make sure you don’t just dictate your expectations. In other words, talk with them, not at them. A good rule of thumb would be to ask them for their interpretation of your expectations to make sure you’re both on the same page. Identify where there are differences and help them reconcile those differences within your corporate culture. Diversity of thought should be cherished and sought after.

This type of interaction is particularly important now, as you rally your team for end-of-year planning and setting your company up for a successful 2022.

Conflict arises most often from unclear communication and subsequent lack of understanding of the various roles of team members within a successful enterprise. And if clarity comes from the top, it will trickle down and minimize the risk of confusion in each department. Everyone needs to see eye to eye from the corporate level to middle management and the employees they oversee.

Setting expectations can be tricky because sometimes they’re subjective. Take expectations of a fun, friendly office environment, for example. Some people’s definitions of fun and friendly are different than others — this is very true among the five generations found in most workplaces. However, some expectations are based on the cold, hard figures of key performance metrics.

Once you set clear expectations, make sure you establish mutually accepted goals. Encourage employees to share their own goals in this process. How can you combine your employees’ visions for the company with yours?

If we can help you enhance the performance of your team, please contact Liz Belcher at (317) 613-7846 or email her at