We’ve been doing a lot of coaching recently around setting expectations, providing clarity and holding people accountable. As we coach our leaders to become stronger, more certain and more decisive, we are met with an all too common hesitation of, “Well, I don’t want to be too harsh, too aggressive, too firm.” And, yet, in not articulating exactly what we expect, we leave room for misinterpretation and confusion. It’s part of our leadership responsibility to set our team up for success!
Here are three proven strategies exceptional leaders exercise to provide clarity for their people:
- Leaders set expectations from the start.
Remember when you went to summer camp and the first night was all about Camp Expectations? We all operate better knowing our boundaries, knowing “how we do things here” and knowing what success will look like for everyone involved. There’s a difference between micro-managing and providing direction and structure. While being firm, specific and bold doesn’t come easy for everyone, it is part of being a strong leader. Leadership requires courage and clarity – taking a stand for what is needed, what is right and holding a vision for our people to do their best work. What are the primary 3 expectations you have for your team right now? How would reinforcing what you expect enhance how you lead and how they perform?
- Leaders dedicate space for what matters.
Exceptional leaders know that what is scheduled happens. They are willing to say no to extra tasks to say yes to more coaching, more adjusting and more availability to lead, guide and direct. When we’re too busy, we are sending a message that doesn’t necessarily match our leadership intentions. Where can you dedicate more time for dialogue, exchange and knowing your people? How often do you ask your people what is standing in the way of them working into their full potential? When we make the space, we learn what matters most to our people. We pause to listen, learn and understand our team’s fears, emotions, obstacles and motivations. By providing the space for meaningful, compassionate dialogue, we create a culture where trust is our natural foundation. How much time are you carving out to clear the way for your people?
- Leaders prioritize people over pace.
Our culture rewards us to hide behind “being busy”. We are expected to and accept being busy. But it’s costing us relationships, connection and we’re losing amazing talent at the expense of finishing the race. Prioritizing people over pace requires time – to plan, to anticipate, to reflect, guide, coach and remind our people why they are valuable to our team, our company, our culture and our customers. If your 1:1’s fall off your calendar, being diligent to get them back on. Your calendar is a reflection of your choices. Choose to be with your employees. Nothing signals importance like time.