Leadership requires the ability to meet two-directional expectations. Expectations that cross paths and really should be in concert. The person(s) that the leader reports to has an expectation. The team the leader leads has certain expectations. The key is balancing all the expectations. The expectation that is often given more attention is upper management. A leader is never successful without meeting the expectations of their team. The team does the work. The leader has to lead in a way that allows the team to feel and understand their value and purpose in the bigger picture. How does a leader meet the expectations of the team and of upper management? Let them dance together.
1. Clearly understand the mission and goals of the organization. All organizations have a bottom line they are trying to meet. Maybe its better customer service, higher profits, increased savings, or streamlined processes. Whatever the goals are, it is important for every leader to understand those goals. In most instances, the leader's upper management will be aligned with the goals and in essence, so will their expectations. Having a grasp on the organization's mission will allow the leader to make decisions in a way that utilizes their team's strengths to best meet the organization's mission.
2. Clearly understand the goals of the team. While the organization has missions and goals, the team may have different, more individual goals. It is important to understand what they are for each person on the team. Being in tune with that will allow the leader to be more strategic in the way they make decisions and message those decisions. For example, if one team member's goal is to be promoted within 2 years, identify professional development opportunities that get them closer to that goal. Be intentional in helping them. Their professional development could ultimately be the avenue for a strategic savings plan for the organization.
3. Let the goals of the team and upper management dance together. Communicate the goals of the organization in a way to the team that allows them to understand their purpose in the process. They should know that their input/output ultimately helps impact the overall success of the organization. Communicate the goals of your team to upper management. They should be aware of what your team wants to work towards. If the team is more successful; feels more valuable, the organization in turn is as well.
Some leaders focus mainly on what upper management's expectations are, but it is key to focus on theirs and the team they lead. When in sync, the best outcome of success happens for all parties involved. In essence, they all understand that they play on the same team. What are you doing to help your leader(s) and team dance together?