Some have said, “keep your expectations low and you’ll never be disappointed”. I think that’s poor advice somebody read on a t-shirt. As a leader, you must set expectations and yes, they may need to be set high. It’s a critical part of influencing teams to high levels of performance and accomplishing tough goals. You can set high expectations, as long as you do it properly.
- Define the end result. – You may not need to “micro-manage” your team to the finish line, but you need to tell them where it is and what it looks like.
- Must be realistic. – “High” doesn’t mean unrealistic. Stretch goals can work to energize a team toward higher levels of performance, but don’t break the rubber band.
- Must be clear. – Your team needs to understand which direction they are going from the beginning. A millimeter off at the start can lead to a landing point far from the target.
- Must be followed by the leader. – It’s hard to influence someone to work hard, while you’re on the sidelines drinking lemonade. Your expectations can’t be something you aren’t willing to do. Walk the talk.
- Need a level of accountability. – Few things can demoralize a good team like slackers. Over time, they will suck the life force out of a high performer. Everyone needs to pull their weight and everyone needs to be empowered to expose those who aren’t.
Utilize these tips when setting high expectations to ensure your team reaches the desired end.
“Begin with the end in mind” – Dr. Steven R. Covey