The Art of Setting Expectations for Your Team
Early in my leadership journey, I made a huge mistake with my team.
Without even knowing it.
I set the expectations I had for myself onto my team.
I had the expectation that I:
I wouldn’t leave the office until I was caught up on email
I worked weekends
I responded to emails around the clock - nights, holidays, weekends
I was allllllll about the work - not the people doing the work
I analyzed data extremely quickly, real-time and could immediately communicate the results of my findings
I was quick to make on-the-spot decisions
And none of these were expectations that my leader put on me or was set out in the job description. They were my own expectations that I made up of myself.
By doing all of that - not only was I modeling the way for my team, but I was also expecting them to do the same exact thing.
Until it was reflected to me that I was doing that, I had no awareness.
I had no clue that I was making my team feel:
That they could never be good enough
It was impossible to meet expectations
And I was setting them up to fail. It was a stomach-sinking moment.
With that awareness, I reset the expectations I had of myself and in turn the expectations I had of my team. My new expectations were:
Leaving the office at a decent time - with unread emails
I may have played my own catch-up on the weekends, but I stopped putting the burden on my team to do the same
I spent time teaching my team how I analyzed data so quickly
I learned their strengths that we could leverage across the team vs. expecting them to have my strengths
I balanced the people and work together - they were one
Ultimately slowed down.
Was it hard? Yes.
Was it worth it? Hell yes!
My team started thriving, individually and as a team. We were achieving the results that I knew were possible for us and I personally got some much-needed time back.
What expectations do you have of yourself that you’ve put on your team?