When people don’t understand what their leaders expect from them, they feel lost. They have no compass and no agreed-upon standards of conduct to follow. They’re not sure how to please their boss, how to behave around their teammates, or what a good job looks like. All they can do is wait for someone to tell them what to do and how to do it.
As a servant leader who works side by side with your team members, you must let your people know exactly what you expect from them. This gives them a mental picture of how to be successful under your leadership.
But expectations aren’t just about words—they are also about you modeling the behaviors you expect. You must walk your talk, or your words are meaningless. Communicating your expectations gives your people confidence and clarity about what a good job looks like.
Making Common Sense Common Practice
For example, suppose you tell your people that your expectations of them are similar to the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Describe to them in clear terms what that would look like:
- Act ethically in everything you do.
- Treat your customers the way you would want to be treated.
- Care for your teammates and cheer each other on.
Bravo! You’ve just painted a picture your people can see, feel, and apply to their daily work. These clear expectations, communicated directly to your team members, establish the standard for how you want them to consistently behave. Serve your people and help them accomplish their goals by setting the bar high and modeling the behavior you wish to see.
“You Get from People What You Expect” is Simple Truth #13 in the new book I’ve coauthored with Randy Conley, Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to Be a Servant Leader and Build Trust. It’s on sale now at your favorite bookstore or online retailer. Go here to download an eBook summary for a sneak preview!