EXPECTATIONS—Setting the Bar Sets the Tone

Chapter 2, pages 37-38 from Lead with Love by Gerry Czarnecki

“How was I supposed to know what you wanted? What do you think I am a mind reader?” Have you ever asked these questions? Has anybody who works for you asked them? Questions like these raise the issue of expectations. This element of leadership is where the real work begins.

Setting expectations is the first step on a leader’s journey. From this action, all other actions flow as natural next steps. Where love sets the tone for the leadership relationship, expectations set the focus for achieving future successes. Setting expectations means taking several specific actions, all of which are critical to the success of a leader and, in turn, the organization. These include establishing a vision, a mission, a set of core values or principles, a strategy, goals, specific objectives, and detailed action plans. Many management books cover these steps. However, since leaders frequently must follow a business plan somebody else wrote, this book concentrates on actions you can take right now in your leadership role to establish expectations that are aligned with the rest of the organization.

Your goal should be to determine tasks you must execute to achieve peak performance. In short, as Dr. Thomas Gordon says, “An effective leader cannot be only a ‘human relations specialist’ (meeting members’ needs) nor only a ‘productivity specialist’ (meeting organizational needs). He or she must be both.”

Most organizations have goals and objectives. Some may be vague; others may be well-thought-out and focused. Whatever the case, leaders must expect that these goals will set their day-to-day agendas.

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