Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


Effectively Sharing Expectations – A Leadership Must!

Volume: August 2017

I used to coach 7-year old soccer. No, I was not a masochist. The children were learning fundamentals and having a lot fun. It was a great experience. My youngest son, now a strapping teenager, played on the team. He was a natural defender. As such, he rarely scored a goal. During a crucial game, however, we were short-handed and needed a goal. Late in the game, I took my son Noah off to the side and said to him: “Noah, the team needs a goal. I fully expect that you will score a goal before this game ends.” Sidebar: I am not one of those parents; we simply needed a little goal, that’s all. Back on task - Noah nodded and said, “Sure thing dad.” He then ran out and promptly scored a goal.
Now if Noah had not scored a goal, no one would have been upset. He always played his heart out. But, he had all the skills and abilities necessary to score a goal. Why not tap into that potential? And that’s the real topic of this narrative: sharing expectations with team members in a fashion that taps into their viable potential. So without further adieu, I offer you six areas to keep in mind when you are sharing your expectations with your valued team members.  

  1. Be realistic. Make certain that the person can attain what you expect. If your expectations are too “pie in the sky,” you are setting someone up for failure. Instead, be realistic and give everyone a chance to win!
  2. Be specific. Not only about your expectations, but also about the impact that the execution of your expectations will have on other team members. In other words, help your people lock into the big picture by understanding how their performance will positively impact the greater good. 
  1. Tone of voice. It is difficult to hear our own tone of voice. Especially when we are stressed, which is a fair amount of the time. When we are stressed, our tone of voice can easily become terse – certainly harsher than we intend. If you share expectations in an inappropriate tone, you may build the perception that you are dictatorial, when in actuality you are attempting to be participatory. Make a concerted effort to check your tone and make sure it matches the message you want to convey. Note: this behavior is doubly important when expectations are being shared over the phone.
  2. Body language. About 55% of the impact of communication is delivered via our body language. Thus, it truly is not what we say, but how we say it. Similar to tone of voice, make certain that your body language mirrors the intent of your expectations. 
  3. Express confidence. Let your team members know that you are confident they will meet or exceed your expectations. This is important for several reasons. First, it is the truth. Second, showing sincere confidence in others builds their self-esteem. In a world gone mad, we all need a nice dose of self-esteem building now and then. Finally, your expression of confidence will also build their confidence in you as a leader. Make certain that you use terrific eye contact when expressing confidence in others.
  4. Celebrate. Whether you celebrate by lauding praise, sharing money, or showering confetti, celebrate in some fashion when someone meets or exceeds your expectations. Most leaders do not hesitate to share constructive criticism when someone misses the mark. Why are so many slow to praise a job well done – even if it is expected that the job will be done well? Do not hoard celebratory moments. Let them fly. There is never a downside to celebration.   
  5. Bottom Line: Just because someone has a job description, or even because they have been doing a good job for years, does not mean that what we expect of them cannot be reinforced. The people on our teams are not mind readers. Tell them what you are thinking. Share what you truly
 Until next time, be well.
Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based executive coach, leadership development expert, strategic planner, and Certified Speaking Professional. Call 941-776-1121, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or visit LeadershipSimplified.com.  

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