Develop others

Developing Others – Setting Clear Performance Expectations

For performance to be effective and in line with role, team and organisation requirements, performance expectations must be set and clearly and comprehensively communicated.

Each employee must have a clear and detailed understanding of the performance standards required of them, a detailed description and concept of what role success will ‘look like’ and an appreciation of how their work tasks and quality of work input into the broader scope and performance of not only the team, but also the organisation. Without this clarity, management of poor performance is made difficult, and successful performance development less likely.

Detailed below are some steps critical to developing and setting performance expectations.

Developing Goals

When developing goals for individual employees, performance expectations and objectives must be configured that take into consideration and balance the needs of the organisation, the team, but also the motivational, skill and temperament aspects of the individual. Poorly considered and developed goals can act strongly as demotivators and frustrators. They must inspire, motivate and keep staff focused.


  1. What key skills and abilities does this individual possess?
  2. How can these skills and abilities be best harnessed? Person-task fit.
  3. To what extent can weaknesses and development areas be challenged and progressively developed?

Setting Goals

With insight from the above questions, the next task is to develop and set performance expectations that will engage and motivate optimal performance. Goals must be SMART.

  • Specific – what is being worked toward achieving is clear and understandably presented.
  • Measurable – performance can be assessed with a clear completion and therefore acknowledgement of degree of success or failure possible.
  • Achievable – inorder to motivate and push performance the goal must be one which is able to be completed
  • Realistic – the goal must be set at a level that can not only be achieved, but also at a level that will appropriately push performance and represent and true accomplishment if fully met or even exceeded.
  • Time-Framed – goals can be left open ended, they must also clearly state the point in time by which the task must be completed for true and completed success to have been met.

About the Author: Fiona Lang

Fiona Lang
Fiona Lang is an experienced human resources consultant, line manager and financial controller. She has designed and delivered feedback, training and development programs for organisations in the government, non-profit and corporate sectors. She has worked across Australia in management positions for ANZ bank, Citibank and the National Australia Bank Group. She holds a B.A. (Psychology) and Dip.FP.

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