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The Power of Valid Expectations

Jul 31, 2021 | Effective leaders, Strategic clarity & alignment

I wanted to share a conversation I had this week with one of the leaders I’ve been working closely with that may just help you in your own leadership. It is a great testimony of how simple changes made by a leader can make an incredible difference to team performance…

This leader told me that she had just finished the performance reviews for her team and that, for the first time ever, she was honestly thrilled with each and every team member’s performance. She was even able to promote one of the members of her team when only a couple of years ago, she had had her doubts as to whether he was actually going to meet the challenge. I think this is an incredible result!

As we reflected on the changes she has implemented to achieve this goal, the one stand-out winner was that she has learnt to set valid expectations. In fact, two of her team members, unrelatedly and unprovoked gave her this feedback, i.e. that it was knowing exactly what was expected of them that allowed them to then use their skills to flourish.

In my experience, many leaders miss one or more of the criteria for setting valid expectations when communicating with their team and this leads to frustration, disappointment and sub-par performance. May I take this opportunity to remind you that an expectation is only valid if it is:

1. Conscious
2. Credible
3. Communicated and
4. Confirmed

You can watch my four-minute video HERE where I unpack valid expectations in more detail.

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