Giving the Gift of High Expectations: A Beginner’s Guide for Small Business CEOs
As a small business CEO, it’s not uncommon to struggle with holding employees accountable for their work. In fact, according to The Predictive Index’s 2022 Annual CEO Benchmarking Report, 49% of participating CEOs identified employee performance and productivity as their biggest concern (source). But here’s the good news – enforcing high expectations doesn’t have to result in employee turnover or workplace tension. In fact, maintaining a culture of accountability can help your employees and company reach their full potential.
The Importance of Setting High Expectations
Setting high expectations for your employees is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it provides clarity and eliminates ambiguity when it comes to knowing what needs to be done. Many small business CEOs underestimate the frequency with which their employees encounter uncertainty about what to do next. By setting clear expectations, you alleviate this uncertainty and empower your employees to confidently take action.
Secondly, high expectations promote growth and development. When employees know that you have confidence in their abilities and expect them to excel, it motivates them to continuously improve their skills. This not only benefits the individual employee, but also drives the overall success of your company.
Lastly, setting high expectations establishes a culture of accountability. When employees understand that there are consequences for not meeting expectations, they are more likely to prioritize their work and deliver results. This culture of accountability fosters a sense of responsibility and ownership among your team members.
Effective Strategies for Enforcing High Expectations
While it’s important to set high expectations, how you enforce them is equally crucial. Here are some effective strategies for ensuring accountability without causing tension or encouraging employees to leave:
- Clearly communicate expectations: Avoid assumptions and clearly communicate your expectations to your employees. This includes clearly defining goals, deliverables, and timelines.
- Lead by example: As a CEO, you must exemplify the behavior and work ethic that you expect from your employees. Be a role model and demonstrate the level of performance you anticipate.
- Provide support and resources: Help your employees meet your expectations by providing them with the necessary support, resources, and training. This sets them up for success and shows that you are invested in their growth.
- Regularly review progress: Schedule regular check-ins to review progress towards meeting expectations. This allows you to provide timely feedback and address any challenges or concerns.
- Reward and recognize achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate employees who consistently meet or exceed expectations. This not only boosts morale but also reinforces the importance of accountability.
An Accountability Framework for Small Business CEOs
Implementing an accountability framework can help small business CEOs effectively enforce high expectations. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Establish a clear vision: Clearly define your company’s mission, goals, and values. This provides a foundation for setting expectations that align with your overall business objectives.
- Communicate expectations: Clearly communicate expectations to your employees, ensuring they understand what is required of them and the consequences of not meeting expectations.
- Provide the necessary resources: Ensure your employees have the resources, tools, and training they need to meet your expectations. This includes ongoing support and professional development opportunities.
- Set performance metrics: Define measurable performance metrics that align with your expectations. This allows you to objectively assess employee performance and provide feedback accordingly.
- Regularly monitor and provide feedback: Continuously monitor employee performance and provide regular feedback. This helps employees stay on track and make adjustments as needed.
- Address performance gaps: If an employee consistently fails to meet expectations, address the performance gap promptly and constructively. Offer guidance, additional resources, or performance improvement plans to help them succeed.
- Recognize and reward success: Celebrate and reward employees who consistently meet or exceed expectations. This reinforces the importance of accountability and motivates others to strive for excellence.
As a small business CEO, setting high expectations and enforcing accountability is vital for the success of your company. By clearly communicating expectations, providing support, and implementing an accountability framework, you can create a culture in which your employees thrive and your company reaches its full potential. Remember, holding employees accountable doesn’t have to be confrontational or punitive – it’s about encouraging growth, development, and excellence.
So give the gift of high expectations and watch your small business soar!