As a leader I have high expectations of those who work in our organization. These include integrity, being focused on our common mission, creating a healthy atmosphere for our staff to flourish and then small things like returning emails and phone calls. In fact, we have a short document called "expectations of a leader" that spell these out.

From time to time I need to evaluate myself to ensure that I am living by the same standards I expect of others. It is all too easy for leaders to develop a sense of entitlement that the rules do not apply to them. And we know that others will not generally call us on it - we are their leader. It doesn't mean they don't notice, however! 

Not only do staff notice but it directly impacts the opinion they have of their leader, either creating great trust and respect or cynicism and disrespect. It is easy for leaders to miss this point because no one is calling them on their failure to live up to the leadership expectations. 

Here is an interesting scenario. It is possible for a leader to be well respected outside his/her staff because they accomplish good things but have far less respect within their staff because those who know them the best don't see them living out staff expectations. The real test of our leadership is whether those who know us the best respect us because we keep the common commitments well. We live what we expect from others. 

From time to time I directly ask those who report to me if there are things I do or don't do that negatively impact them - or that they wish I would do differently. If there are areas where I am falling behind I want to know about it so that I can rectify my shortcomings. 

All of us have shortcomings but wise leaders ensure that they are living out what they expect of others. It is a matter of leadership!

  • May 29, 2012
  • Category: News
  • Comments: 0
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