Manager’s Checkup: Do you expect excellence?

Business experts, psychologists and smart managers agree: What you expect of your employees directly influences what you’ll get from them. When you think of your people as winners and treat them that way, they are more apt to rise to those expectations and be competent, productive and self-starting. Are you expecting excellence from your team? Take this true-or-false quiz:

1. I sometimes do other people’s work for them because it needs to be done just right.

2. I believe that an employee who is frequently late can, with help and over time, learn to be more punctual.

3. I’ve told, or would like to tell, my own manager that if he or she expects me to meet current performance goals, I’m going to have to reassign—or replace—some of my team members.

4. I have no problem delegating work and being sure that my people will get the job done the way it should be done.

5. I think that if an employee goes through a serious personal crisis (such as divorce or the death of a loved one), I shouldn’t expect them to recover and be as effective as ever.

6. I give my staff freedom to decide how to get their work done, as long as it’s done right and on time.

7. I may ask employees for input, but it’s my job to plan our team’ goals and objectives and how we’re going to achieve them.

8. I think that almost all problem employees can be coached and counseled enough to turn their performance around and make them cooperative and productive.

9. I’m always ready to second-guess or override my team members’ decisions if I have to.

10. I think that even my least productive employees have the potential for significant improvement.

What do your answers mean?

Give yourself a point for every “False” response to the odd-numbered items and every “True” response for the even-numbered items.

If you scored less than eight points, you may sometimes show a lack of confidence in your employees. Even though you may feel like they’re capable, it’s important that you communicate those expectations in practice every day.

And if you scored less than five points, you likely don’t really feel like your people are capable. Why not? Even if you have a team full of unskilled or unproductive employees, you can’t expect them to improve unless you believe and communicate that they can improve. You need to practice both—expecting the best from your team and showing it every chance you get.