Have you ever felt like you didn’t know what your work or your manager was expecting of you? How did that make you feel? For me, it makes me feel nervous; how am I meant to know if I’m doing a good job if I don’t know what’s expected of me?
For others, it’s different, but it’s rarely any less disruptive. The perfectionists and those suffering from Imposter Syndrome will set themselves targets that are higher than healthy. The over-confident will think they’re doing great without achieving anything approach to what’s needed from them, and will get a nasty shock when deadlines and objective reviews roll around. That developer who can’t leave a problem alone probably has their head down a rabbit hole completely unrelated to the work the team is meant to be delivering, and in a week’s time will submit a PR that causes merge conflicts for every other developer in the business, having “optimised” the data access layer of your entire application.
Useful, but absolutely not what you wanted them to be doing!
Yes, you might have the rare report that judges what’s required of them perfectly, but why risk it? It takes ten minutes to accurately communicate the long-term expectations on a report; this is what I expect is your primary priority, this is how we will measure your success. It takes 5 minutes in a weekly 1:1 to check in on how that primary objective is going, and see if they need any support in meeting their goals.
A negligible amount of time, that provides an immeasurable benefit to the business, and to the mental health of the employee; knowing what’s expected of you and what you should be doing is a key element of being happy in your work.