Great Expectations

With apologies to Charles Dickens and his Victorian novel in selecting the title of this blog, I'll share with you the things that employees expect of their leaders. Expectations for leaders begin in infancy and childhood and never seem to diminish in spite of disappointments that we encounter and setbacks we endure as employees.  If anything, these seem to amplify our beliefs that leaders can or should achieve something greater.

So what exactly is expected of leaders? The list is long and is by no means comprehensive:

We expect leaders to:

  • Genuinely care about us, not just as employees, but as people.
  • Possess the highest character, placing the needs of the organization and its people above themselves; the quality of selflessness is greatly prized.
  • Find the right way for the organization, no matter the difficulty or challenges.
  • Listen to us earnestly and understand our thoughts and opinions; to use our knowledge to help the organization, to harness our creativity and passion.
  • Enable us to successfully contribute in the context of an organization, to facilitate our successes in giving a purpose higher than ourselves.
  • Have a vision, purpose, and end state firmly in mind for the organization, a vision that will ensure success for all of the employees.
  • Be fair and impartial in their judgments, and inclusive and ecumenical in all matters; without bias, preconceptions, and agendas.
  • Be open and sharing, communicating all matters, large and small, to us
  • Inspire us, to lift our emotions and spirits in ways that enable us to perform beyond our own abilities and experiences.
  • Collaborate; consulting and asking as they plan and mange the affairs of the organization.
  • Exercise judgment that is worthy of the organization and its people.  Decisions are well founded and correct in the context of the environment.
  • Appreciate, at the deepest level, what we do for them and the organization.  And express it constantly.
  • Understand what we are doing, how we are doing it, and help us accomplish the things we cannot do for ourselves.
  • Tolerate mistakes as the price of doing better, but impose real consequences for the things that matter.  Once dealt with, our mistakes are forgiven and forgotten.  The focus is relentlessly positive.
  • Never waste our time.
  • Build teams that work.  We are part of the team; the team needs to succeed so we can succeed.  So the organization can succeed.
  • Share the leadership role, to let us participate, to challenge us and help us learn and develop.
  • Challenge the organization on our behalf and behalf of the mission and greater good, to protect us from bureaucracy and unfair treatment.
  • Set high, but attainable standards.
  • Be consistent, predictable, and steady.
  • Care more about us than themselves or their boss. The focus is on the mission, the employees, and the organization, in that order.
  • Follow the Golden Rule.
  • Always do their best.
  • Never give up, especially on us.
  • Do the right things, for the right reasons, in the right ways.
  • Match their actions and their words.
  • Be honest in all things.

As leaders, if we do these things, or even try our best, we will be rewarded beyond our wildest dreams.

Many thanks, Keith Stalder, #14

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