Leaders, what can you expect from your peers? What do they expect from you?
Issue 3 of the three-part series focuses on my expectations of leaders in terms of Your Role & Yourself.
On my journey to my personal core values, I have addressed a number of topics. Among others, I asked myself: “What do I expect from colleagues in leadership positions?” and also “What is my role as a leader?” These questions are anything but easy to answer. My expectations in this series of three posts reflect the bare “minimum” that I expect from a reflective leader. Beyond this minimum, only the sky is the limit.
- Know your job – willingness to delegate
- You to communicate – acceptance of responsibility
- Watch yourself – recognizing limits
- Next level leadership – lead the leaders
Know your job – willingness to delegate
Delegation is a core principle of leadership. To achieve a vision as a team, a leader must ignite enthusiasm for this very vision and create a culture of willingness among people to achieve the vision, to implement it. People are the heart of every company. They are knowledge carriers, experts and carry the organisation on their shoulders. The willingness to implement a tactic and a strategy to achieve a mission and ultimately a vision depends on the ability of individuals to contribute to the achievement of the vision. Huge companies, such as Google or Amazon, have built a strong vision and an organisation that enables people to move towards that vision. The individual contribution to achieving the vision is marginal. But the reward for the individual is a high salary and working for a great brand. Smaller organisations can attract great talent only with much lower salaries if they promise them that they will have a big impact on the process to achieve the vision. This motivates employees to go the extra mile and exceed expectations.
All this is ONLY possible if top management is willing to delegate responsibility and ownership to their subordinates*) **). Delegation must be done in a transparent way with clear boundaries – both in terms of expectations and the freedom of subordinates to decide to the best of their ability. Delegation requires leaders who are willing to relinquish control, lower their expectations of results, and change the standard for evaluating results from their personal standard. Other people will perform, in different ways, with unexpected results, with aspects not previously considered. The unwillingness to delegate is a major barrier to organisational growth and development. Great ideas will remain ideas because they are not operationalised. They will not be executed. So, one of my expectations on leaders is to delegate work to their teams.
You to communicate – acceptance of responsibility
The actions of leaders are always under observation. The organization misses no step, no word, no communication. Not communicating is not possible, not speaking out is a message to the organisation. Therefore, leaders in particular must take responsibility for their own actions at all times and also stand up for them accordingly. There is no concept of “non-communication”.
Watch yourself – recognizing limits
Top management – also consists of: People. People also reach their limits at the leadership level – and grow. Especially in growth phases, it is important not to forget what tasks every executive has. When someone reaches limits, it is crucial for the senior leader – but moreover – for the entire organisation that these limits are recognised and actively shaped. Actively asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Doing so, multiple minds can tackle the challenge at hand. On of my expectations on leaders is to ask for support, reach out for help – if needed.
Next level leadership – lead the leaders
Managing regular employees is already a very complex process. Providing perspectives, communicating purpose, defining goals, tracking progress, instilling confidence, tracking personal development and helping to grow into the role.
Leading employees who are themselves in the role of leaders is even more complex. Now the staff member wants to be led themselves, but needs freedom, information (e.g. budget) and clearer boundaries within which their own staff can act. This is a task that senior executives must master – especially in a fast-growing organisation.