Having a team made of exceptional employees is every manager’s dream came true. But how simple is that? Is finding experts and gathering all of them in a company really as easy as it can be?

Well, it’s definitely not as complicated as one may think at first.

But where things truly become challenging is how to keep those people by your side?

Who happens to be problematic in this situation, the manager or the employees? Perhaps both sides, what do you think?

With so many questions running through one’s mind, it all boils down to one thing- setting expectations with your boss.

We have prepared plenty of useful tips to help you establish quality communications with your manager.

After all, it’s for mutual benefits.


We did it on purpose, used this expression.

But, it’s quite the opposite of how things should actually work.

Yeah, each of the employees should be aware of his/her position but without giving the ones below the ugly feeling of being ruled upon.

Here’s what it takes to establish a positive foundation for successful cooperation:

1. Clarify Mutual Expectations ASAP

The sooner each of the sides expresses how they feel like and what do they expect from this job, the better things will work in days to come.

Guessing games are not the way to go, at least not in a business where it’s essential to be as transparent and clear as possible on what team members want from each other.

Be aware of the capacity of the team.

2. Negotiate Key Points on Time

Resources, knowledge, funding are just some of the major aspects to discuss prior to getting down to any project.

Similar to introducing expectations, it’s essential to be clear on all the vital segments at the very beginning in order to avoid some obstacles that may result from not being aware of these stuff on time.

3. The Power of Early Wins

The logic is more than simple.

Find the areas that matter to the boss the most and do your best to achieve something as fast as possible.

Be careful don’t occupy yourself with trivial goals that have no true value, but focus on some real ones.

That way you will earn boss’ respect and this will inevitably be a positive boost for some further achievements.

4. Establish the Rules and Roles for a Productive Working Relationship

The (in)famous terms and conditions are an important point to go through. Define how much information you need from the boss and how much of them are you willing to share.

The same goes for having the manager involved during the project.

The bond between bosses and employees should be professional and pleasant but remain business-related.

  1. Show your boss that you appreciate praises and support, but also having the freedom to do things your way. Of course, as long as they are correspondent to the overall business philosophy. When it comes to some key turning points in the company, there are several potential roles a new boss can take depending on the type of situation.
  2. Start-up– In this situation, the manager needs to establish measurable and simpler (smaller) goals and provide important resources rapidly. The boss should give plenty of up-front attention but get out of the way as soon as he/she feels that things can work well. Manager’s duty is to be the guide at essential strategic breakpoints and keep the team focused.
  3. Turnaround- It’s a sort of upgrade to the previous situation. All the above mentioned along with giving support to make and implement tough personnel calls. The same goes for correcting and changing the external image of the team and the organization.
  4. Realignment– Again, the same package as start-up plus having an occasional reality check on the sustainability of the current situation. When a manager is new to the team, he/she needs to feel confident that changing things is okay, despite being new. That’s what managers do.
  5. Sustaining success– Enjoy the accomplishments but don’t let them put you in overly daydreaming. Use them as a motivation to level up your business, improve it and add more value to it. This makes room for further achievements, which will naturally result in more positive results and so on.


We have mentioned conversation and communication as vital ingredients for a healthy business relationship.

To make things simpler, we have determined five main types of conversations along with tips on how to plan and prepare for them.

1. Situational Diagnosis

The purpose of such a conversation is to get to know the boss, understand how he/she perceives the situation and what the current position of the staff, entire organizations and future plans are.

It’s in strong correlation with those breakpoints we already described.

As soon as boss and team members define this clearly, things can move to the further phase.

2. Expectations

Discuss both long and short term goals, but keep the expectations within the limits of achievable.

What is necessary to increase the chances of success and what are the measures for it?

The answer to this will serve as a fine direction for each of the sides. Maintain a good balance, avoid both over-deliver and under-promise.

3. Style

It’s not about discussing the fashion trends with the boss, but conversational ones.

Define the means of communication for certain occasion.

When to use phone, e-mail or opt for face-to-face discussion?

The goal is to keep both sides comfortable in expressing their opinions. Of course, this is susceptible to change, as the trust grows.

4. Resources

Talk about each type of resources, not just staff or funding.

This includes necessary measures in various critical and crucial situations and turning points for the organization.

Define what is it that you expect from your boss and from yourself, as well as other team members.

5. Personal Development

Managers like the employees that are willing to learn and upgrade their skills and knowledge constantly.

Show your boss that you are willing to strengthen the capabilities, which you are ready to deal with challenging projects.

Just be careful not to assign yourself too much responsibility which would turn potential satisfaction into a heavy burden and disappointment. Be reasonable yet strive to give the best you can.

Just so you know, these five types are not separated from each other but somehow intertwined. Still, there’s certain logic in their appearance.

For example, don’t just come with development talk out of nowhere prior to clarifying the other four types. Step by step is the way to go.


When it comes to the advice of this sort, it’s important to know the other’s side complete story.

What does that mean? If employees want to be sure that their manager is aware of their feelings and expectations, he/she should express those freely.

On the other hand, if the boss wants the employees to understand all the goods and bads of his/her position, it’s necessary to share that with the team members.

You may even refer to it as a confession session, but putting all cards on the table is what all this is about. The solid groundwork is built on transparent communication which further leads to trust and a strong team.

For that reason, we compiled a list of some ultimate rules and pieces of advice to make your team the greatest one of all times.

There is plenty of useful information both for employers and employees, which is why we mixed them all together here.

Here they are:

Don’t underestimate the power of meaningful conversations

People talk a lot, but do they really listen and communicate with each other? Sometimes it starts looking like one of those guessing games, where both sides have certain expectations, but none of them actually understands what the other one really wants.

Of course, this goes for business talk, not private topics.

To be honest, it’s much better to keep away from those as much as possible. The best way to maintain a professional and pleasant communication is to stick with business-related topics.

Express your boss what you like and what you dislike. Inform him/her about some changes you would like to take place, give some constructive ideas.

The point is that the manager needs to be aware of how you feel about your work. Only then he/she will be able to improve the working conditions and motivate you to remain part of the team.

1. The Power of Reinforcement

Is there a better way to show that you see and value a member of your team than rewarding? Of course, it can be money, but a day off, or even words have strong power to motivate people to keep on giving their best at their job.

As far as some surveys claim, a greater percentage of people would appreciate getting more recognition at work, while about 35% would be happier for getting raise.

Motivation is a powerful weapon. You can even call it the heart of the whole machine, as it keeps things moving and running.

So, one should never underestimate the strength of positive words. They can do wonders, not only in one’s private life but in business as well.

2. Constant Education and Upgrading

Speaking of motivation, the majority of employees like when their job offers them the possibility to acquire new knowledge take part in training and courses.

Those help one maintain the existing skills and get new ones.

There are many ways to provide mentorship to team members. One of the ideas is that the boss gives occasional lectures; the other is to hold meetings where team members would exchange experiences and opinions with each other.

3. Uniquely Tailored Work Culture

Speaking of expectations, one naturally wants to feel like belonging somewhere. This goes both for personal and business aspects of our lives.

The best way to create such a community at work is to establish a culture so that each of the members would have that feeling of being part of something.

While in some companies this happens spontaneously, in other bosses intentionally create a culture.

If it turns out that some individual simply doesn’t belong to the idea, this is the best way to eliminate such person. Culture helps every team member identify with the others, helping them understand their own roles better.

4. Fear Not the Failure

It’s easier said than done, but part of setting things clean and clear with the boss includes this situation as well.

When the employee is familiar with what happens in case of mistakes and unsuccessful decisions, it levels down the fear significantly.

One needs to be aware that failing is quite a natural part of any process and the best way to get some conclusion from such a situation is positive feedback.

The main point is to think of as innovative solutions as possible, encourage the employees to move forward and don’t let some obstacles discourage them.

5. A Leader With a Clear Vision

When a competent person leads the way, other members of the team feel encouraged and motivated. Moreover, they feel content that someone who knows the job is the one in charge. But if there’s to name an ultimate virtue, then it’s the accountability.

When the boss is ready to act according to the same guidelines he/she established for the staff, then it pretty much clear that such person appreciates and respects every single person in the team. And that’s exactly what the team needs.

6. Work on Problem-Solving Techniques

It’s not just about identifying the problem but brainstorming the solution as quick as possible.

That’s what makes employees feel confident that there’s a strong and reliable leader to find the right way even in some rough times.

After all, such an example motivates the employees to follow it and become likewise.

7. Show Trust by Avoiding Micromanaging

One of the greatest virtues of the best leaders is knowing where to set limits when it comes to interfering.

Being a manager is about knowing to feel relaxed when it comes to delegating to other team members. It’s a mutual trust that helps both sides grow.

There are so many micro-processes going in every company, it’s impossible and exhausting that one person manages every single one of them.

That’s why creating a healthy and trustworthy business environment is essential.

8. Make Decisions Effectively

We are not saying one should give the final words on something without even thinking about it, but one shouldn’t spend days and months vacillating over the smallest issue.

Take responsibility, do it, because employees like self-confident and capable managers. That’s will actually boost their own efficiency.

9. Each Team Member Has His/Her Own Individual Value

Finding time to listen to every single person from the team may seem almost impossible particularly if the team is enormous.

But, you know, it’s about catching just a minute and listening to what people have to say. Each time has its own specific energy and it’s because certain people are in it.

This is what every boss should be aware of. In addition to this, employees should also feel encouraged to express themselves.

The only possible result can be increased productiveness and self-confidence, and that’s what both sides like, right?

10. Keep a Wider Perspective of Things

Don’t let this confuse you. It’s not micromanaging, but just being aware of all the major moments both horizontally and vertically in the corporate hierarchy.

Feel free to delegate the duties, but be informed what goes on is how every manager should approach his/her job.

11. Know Thy Mistakes and Admit Them

Nobody’s perfect, not even the world’s greatest leaders. But what makes them great is that they are ready to admit that mistakes are an integral part of every journey to success.

Take responsibility both for positive and negative outcomes, and always work in improving and learning. This philosophy works just fine for both sides.

12. Balance is the Key

It’s hard to resist being wholeheartedly dedicated if the job is fulfilling. But still, it’s important to set some healthy limits. Encouraging people to give their best is more than okay.

However, usurping their free and private life is not. Both employees and managers need to know how to set up a positive business example and remain within safe limits where one would not lose his/her own private life.

Yeah, some of the tips from our list may seem too obvious, perhaps even silly to mention. But, you know what? That’s precisely WHY people often forget and oversee them.

It’s important to have a guide like this in front of your eyes or on your mind all the time. It’s the only way to keep the team at a good pace.


The main focus of our article is how to make things work in an almost ideal environment. But, there’s always that other side of the medal.

You do your best to impress the manager, put maximal efforts but you feel that you cannot manage it. Is it the lack of your qualifications or work overload? Chances are the boss gave you too many obligations.

No-one likes failures, but if things cannot work, you should push yourself too much. There are ways to deal with this situation. Remain calm-headed and look for the solutions. Here’s what you can do:

1. (In) Security Check

Is your boss pushing the idea to stretch yourself beyond the limits of achievable? Or the deadline is simply too tight? There are two possible answers.

Some managers are simply unaware of the true capabilities of their team members. On the other hand, some use this as a way to motivate their employees by putting something seems difficult to achieve before them.

If you as a worker have doubts which one of these two is the case, do not hesitate to ask. Don’t let the stress invade your life, the sooner you clarify this, the better you will work further on.

2. Precious Advice from Colleagues

Chances are there’s always someone with a bit more experience in the team than you and that person can give you valuable tips on what to do in situations like this one.

This useful insight might help you realize that you are not the only one feeling like that.

Brainstorming on the solutions with team members will decrease the stress and increase the chances to find the best solution.

3. List All That Comes to Your Mind

If you are having doubts about the expectations, take time to make a list of reasons.

This should include the potential reasons that led to these doubts and some potential fixes.

Be as inclusive as possible and the solution will appear.

4. Time for the Big Talk

After all, is there a better and more efficient way to deal with the problem that talking to the boss.

Don’t wait too much, but do it as soon as you are sure that the above mentioned ideas didn’t give you the answer.

Come with a plan and introduce it confidently. It can result in deadline extension, some smart bits of advice or encouragement.

Still, if it fails, if it turns out that the manager simply lost the touch with reality, then move on. Yeah, that’s exactly what we mean-look for another job.

If you have put too much effort and the boss simply fails to recognize your hard work, find the environment where your qualities will be appreciated and rewarded.


Majority of these tips and tricks may seem like a commonplace, something that we already know. But the point is to be aware of that all the time.

These small truths are often overseen because they may seem insignificant to talk about or pay attention to. But, they are the key ones actually.

We sincerely hope that our guide will serve as a useful reminder of how to be in a good way. Both managers and employees should read it and refer to it from time to time.

All for the sake of healthy communication and mutual prosperity.

Setting Expectations With Your Boss

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