It's amazing how often I speak with leaders and executives about getting back to basics. I think we get so caught up in the future-focused complexity and speed of our work that we forget about the here and now. What I see though is that forgetting the basics in the here and now can have huge consequences on the future that we're visioning and driving toward. Setting clear leadership expectations is one area that I see neglected time and time again, with some fairly serious consequences.
Let's use an analogy. If you were teaching a group of kids to play footy, would you:
A) Teach them the rules, show them the field, demonstrate how to kick and pass the ball, explain how to score a goal and let them try it all out
B) Expect them to know the rules, tell them the run around on the field, show them the ball, shift the goal posts around and yell at them for getting it wrong
Clearly (I hope!), you'd choose option A. You would give the kids clear guidelines on how the game is played (so that it's not an unsafe free-for-all), you'd show them the skills they will need to play, you'd tell them how to win and then give them a go.
Why then do we not do this in business? The way I see it, organisations have two options:
A) Design clear leadership pathways (read more about how to achieve this here), create and communicate clear expectations from the very start of the recruitment process, communicate EXACTLY what is expected of leaders and the tools and support they'll need and clearly articulate what results are required
B) Drop your people into leadership roles without growing their skills, assume that they know what to do, be inconsistent in giving them resources and support and shift your expectations constantly
Hands down, option A will result in happy, engaged and productive leaders. It's no contest.
An expectation is a need combined with the belief that the need will be met. If this isn't communicated clearly and consistently, how can leaders ever hope to convey that 1. there is a target and 2. there is the belief that it must be achieved?
We need to stop shifting the goal posts and get crystal clear on what's expected. Let's get back to basics and set our people up for success. Let them kick some goals!
If you'd like some help getting back to basics with your leaders, please get in touch directly on 0409 585 433 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.