How many times are individuals hired into leadership positions without really knowing what their own leadership expects of them? This is especially troublesome for those who are first time managers. As a leader, I always found it not only important but inspiring to share with my management team what I expected of each of them as leaders within the organization. Of course, turn around is always fair play. They also individually shared with me what they expected of me as their leader. Sharing expectations up front not only allowed us to come together as a high performance leadership team more quickly, but also gave us all the opportunity from the start to jointly build the best work team we could for the organization as a whole.
Below are 20 leadership expectations I have shared and found valuable for creating a strong leadership team.
1. Respect each other – treat everyone well. Do not be confrontational. Maintain their self-esteem. Be sensitive to the tone of your voice and the words that you speak. Give people the respect and the dignity they deserve. Do unto others, as they would have you do unto them. Trust people and honor the best they have to offer. You should always be in a partnership, you are part of the same team and everyone benefits form the organization being successful.
2. Act with integrity, speak honestly and do the right thing. Always, always tell the truth. Then you will not have to try and remember what you said. Choose your highest thought about something when trying to decide how to act.
3. Motivate with a mission; lead from the heart with passion and compassion. Give people a compelling reason for being a part of this organization. Employees are far more likely to put their heart in the game for a manager who breaks through the facade of invincibility and demonstrates humanness. Have a passionate belief in your ideas and values. Say the words “I believe” and share your thoughts with your team. Get people excited! Know that your true power comes from within, the source that fuels all success.
4. Be adaptable. Stay creative. Have the courage to do things differently. Find ways to always improve. Be willing to think a new thought if you want to create a different (new and improved) reality. Instill in others the need to “think a new thought”. Remember, change is part of the natural order of things. You must either change or be left behind. Be comfortable with letting go of the past in order to gab hold of a different future.
5. Pick your battles – know your non-negotiables. How you manage a crisis will determine whether it escalates or goes away. So pick your battles wisely. Some things are not worth fighting for now. Timing is everything!! Do not allow problems to fester. Deal with it. Recognize problems right away and deal with them.
6. Keep communications open. Deconstruct the barriers that inhibit the ability of the organization to learn, grow and continually adapt while moving forward. Create an organization that allows the sharing and flow of thought and information to proceed effortlessly as part of the process for the greater good. Learn to listen to and handle adversity while adhering to your beliefs. Take the heat and move on.
7. Get in the wheelbarrow! We succeed or fail together – it’s a partnership. People must know that everyone, including you, is in this together. They must understand that your success as a leader is linked to their success.
8. Always look for ways to improve something (remember everything can be improved upon until it is no longer needed). Keep being creative and looking for new ideas and thoughts. Find ways to always be improving, find new ways to win. Do not get stuck in “that’s the way we’ve always done it” because if that’s true, it’s probably time to change.
9. Live for the future, not from the past. Put your team in “future think” while bridging the gap between the past and the future. Find ways to not only create a vision for the future but also become that “vision” now, in the present. Remember you must first envision it before you can be it, you must be it before you can do it, you must do it before you can have it and only when you have it can you then claim it – SUCCESS!!
10. Work with a sense of urgency. You must understand that we do not have unlimited time! Everything has a time limit and nothing last forever. Lead with a sense of urgency and purpose knowing that what you are currently working on now is only a stepping-stone to the next opportunity that lies before you and your team.
11. Build a team ego – inflate the people around you. Put the group first. Make the people around you feel better. Make people proud to be a part of the team. Let people know they are “making history” everyday. Center success around the teams’ accomplishments. Build a team culture with shared values.
12. Do not just go through the day GROW through the day so tomorrow you can achieve more. Everyday look for or create opportunities for the members of your team to develop and grow. Remember the more they become, they more they can offer to not only the team’s success but their personal success as well.
13. Meetings: get in – get out! Enough said, literally!
14. Promote and support a balanced worklife. Realize, people don’t live to work; they work to live. Therefore, embrace the fact that they have a life outside of work, and so do you. Lead from the knowledge that people live within a holistic system that includes what happens inside and outside of work.
15. Show appreciation. Personally recognize. Understand that your team is the most valuable resource you have. It is what makes your leadership and the ability to succeed as an organization unique. Recognize that your team is uniquely qualified to deliver success to the organization. What you do with the unique talents, experiences and expertise that resides within your team will make all the difference between success and failure. There is no other team like the one you have on this planet, so lead like it.
16. Communicate what you want. Know the dangers of assumptions. Have one-on-one meetings to keep people informed. People cannot be blamed or held responsible for what they do not know. Make sure the message is understood. Do not simple assume people know what you want.
17. Be your own messenger. Be hands-on, talk to the team (everyday), reaffirm the vision, and constantly keep it out there. Be visible and let others see you lead. Let your team hear you and see you leading from the future, versus holding onto the past.
18. Act decisively – be an “intentional leader”. Decide to succeed on purpose and do what it takes to make that happen. Forget about “trying” because there is no such thing. You either get the results you want or your don’t. So decide to be a successful leader. Learn the methods of other successful leaders. Learn what works and what doesn’t and find what works best for you.
19. Don’t be afraid to fail. Take personal ownership and pride in all you are responsible for. Failure is part of the leadership package. Do not be afraid to be wrong, do not be afraid to fail, its part of the process. Failure is just another class in school. Just remember, when you fail, fail fast, learn from it and then keep moving forward.
20. Always “be of service”. Everything you do as a leader must be geared towards nurturing an environment that makes peoples lives better. Stay in service to others and those that are depending on you for your leadership.