Tag Archive for: management

Not getting what you expect? This could be why

I handed Maya the crucial product comparison project with visions of a meticulous, organized Excel spreadsheet complete with a concise summary of findings.


Unfortunately, what I received was not even close to what I envisioned.


A week later, there we were, huddled around a table, surrounded by endless pages of raw data, most of which we couldn’t make heads or tails of. Maya tried to explain some initial observations, but there was no comprehensive report, and no succinct summary.


Our frustration and disappointment were palpable. Maya, because she genuinely believed she had delivered precisely what I wanted. And me, because an entire week had slipped through our fingers with almost nothing to show for it. The looming project deadline was dark cloud on our calendar.


So what went wrong?


It was a disaster, and the blame rested squarely on my shoulders. I had failed to communicate my expectations clearly, and I hadn’t bothered to ask Maya about hers. I made careless assumptions that led us down this path.


I assumed Maya’s past successes were an automatic guarantee of success this time-even though she had never done a project list this. I thought she instinctively knew what data to collect and how to present it. When she didn’t come to me with questions or concerns, I naively believed she was on the right track. Those assumptions, those shortcuts, cost us big time. They cost us precious time, wasted effort, and pushed the entire project perilously close to the brink of failure.


But there is a way out of this chaos. It’s called mutual expectations.


These conversations are lifelines that answer the critical questions of when, what, how, and why tasks should be done. They form the bedrock of performance and the linchpin of accountability.


Imagine a world where both you and your team members share a common understanding. This world is brimming with confidence because there’s a clear, agreed-upon roadmap. Desired outcomes are defined; measurements of success are crystal clear. No one is in the dark.


In our case, we hadn’t had those discussions. We hadn’t talked about the results we were aiming for or what the finished product should even look like. Maya was left stumbling in the dark, unaware of what specific information to gather, where to find it, how to assess its relevance, or even how to present it. The ‘why’ was absent too, which left us all adrift.


But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a straight forward process to ensure clear, mutual expectations. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Clearly explain the project and emphasize its importance.
  2. Define the desired outcomes and success metrics.
  3. Lay out the steps, share necessary resources, and be explicit about the project’s boundaries.
  4. Ask questions, offer support, and clarify expectations. Can they handle it? Do they have the bandwidth? What questions do they have? What do they expect from you during this project?
  5. Most importantly, ensure that everyone is on the same page and document those expectations for reference.


Don’t make the costly mistake of assigning a project and saying, “Let me know if you have questions.” Instead, regularly check in with your team members. Address any questions, tackle minor challenges before they become colossal obstacles.


These expectation conversations aren’t limited to specific projects. They are your lifeline during team meetings, one-on-ones, role changes, shifting priorities, system updates, process alterations, or policy revisions.


I guarantee you, when you establish mutual expectations, you will see results. Work becomes seamless, efficient, and your team? They’re infused with newfound confidence and a sense of ownership that propels them to unprecedented heights. The solution is right there – it’s mutual expectations, and it’s your ticket to success.

The Transition all Great Leaders Must Make (and how to do it!)

Let’s talk about an important-and often overlooked-aspect of leadership, especially for new leaders. The mindset transition from ME to WE.


When you’re a team member, you focus on yourselfyour performance, your relationship with the boss, your promotion, your ambitions, etc.  This is ME thinking.


As a leader though-that ME mindset just doesn’t work.


Why? Because your success as a leader is a direct reflection of your ability to support and enable the team to be successful. It’s not just about your own achievements anymore. When your team shines, that’s when you know you’re doing a fantastic job.  This requires WE thinking.


So, how do you make that shift from “me” to “we”?


First reflect on why you wanted to be a leader in the first place. Think about your leadership brand—those goals and aspirations you set for yourself. Are you actually living up to them? Are you talking the talk and showing those behaviors and values in your everyday actions?


Remember you’re a role model. Great leaders lead by example. Show the team the behavior and qualities you expect from them.


The power of listening. Seriously, shut up and listen—like really listen. Ditch the distractions and give the team your full attention. Seek to understand everyone’s perspectives, ideas, and concerns. Ask a ton of questions and mine for feedback. This will help you shift your focus to a more holistic view of what’s best for the team.


Flex those empathy muscles. Put yourself in your team members’ shoes and consider their experiences and perspectives. Understanding where they’re coming from will make you a better leader and foster stronger connections within the team.


Instead of solely focusing on your own ambitions and goals, set objectives that align with the team’s success. Involve your team in the goal-setting process. When everyone has a say and feels ownership, magic happens. Nothing brings a team together like a shared goal.


Give credit where credit is due when those team goals or milestones are met. Acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of each team member. By highlighting the collective success, you reinforce the importance of teamwork and motivate everyone to keep pushing forward.


Now, I know what you’re thinking—team-building activities. Some people roll their eyes at the mention of them, but trust me, they work. Team-building activities foster collaboration, trust, and a sense of shared purpose. They show you firsthand the benefits of a team-oriented approach and the value of collective success.


Leaders-your personal goals and ambitions are still important, just make sure to prioritize the team and organizational goals. Now go out there and lead like a rockstar!