We have heard and practice that defined leadership is simply that Leaders provide Purpose, Direction, and Motivation. To accomplish those three things, leaders MUST clearly set and enforce expectations. They need to be able to clearly communicate those expectations to those they lead. The leader must paint a picture of what the result should look like. The picture should be clear enough that the people you lead know exactly what they are supposed to do and accomplish.
Before we go on.. the first step in this process is to set the BEST example. Not a Good example.. the BEST example. Good is not Good enough when it comes to leadership. With your BEST example you will then be able to set expectations and achieve results.
What Great Leaders Do to Set Expectations
Great leaders set clear expectations and standards for the people they lead.
Great leaders clearly communicate these expectations and standards to the people they lead.
Great leaders constantly reinforce the expectations and standards they have set for the people they lead.
Great leaders lead Great organizations. Mediocre Leaders lead Mediocre Organizations. Do not be satisfied with “Good enough”.
How Great Leaders Set Expectations
Great leaders develop clear expectations and standards for every position that reports to them. They make sure that they understand, in their own mind, the output they expect from that position — regardless of the individual who fills it.
The SPL must expect Patrol Leaders to lead their Patrols with the understanding that they are assisting in achieving the Goals of the Troop. At every level, everyone needs to be aware of what it is that the organization is trying to accomplish. This is true for the very big tasks or goals and the small steps that get you there.
Great leaders use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Specified) tool to clarify their expectations and set goals.
- Specific – great leaders set expectations that are targeted, not broad and general. Good expectations are focused and explicit. They should be easily understood by everyone.
- Measurable – great leaders are able to tell quickly and easily if an individual that they lead or a task by the group has met their standards and expectations. They develop a set of criteria that will demonstrate success or failure in meeting the expectation or standard.
- Achievable – great leaders set expectations and standards that are challenging, but not to difficult to achieve. A challenging expectation is motivating, an impossible one will lead to set backs in your goal.
- Relevant – great leaders don’t get caught in the activities. Their expectations focus on the results they expect the team to achieve, not the activities they will do to get there. For example, “improved knot tying skills” is a result; “participating in Pioneering merit badge class” is an activity. It’s possible to complete activities and not achieve the desired result. Keep your goals relevant to the task or goal.
- Time Specified – great leaders know people need to know the deadlines associated with expectations and standards. If you give a team 6 months to achieve a goal they will take 6 months to achieve that goal. Do not allow for this to happen. Set a time line for your goal or task and then hold yourself and the team accountable to get the goal or task completed. Never leave a goal or task open ended when it comes to time.
Once great leaders have a clear picture of their expectations for the positions reporting to you, they communicate them to the people they lead who are in these positions. Great leaders explain three things:
What needs to be accomplished and Why.
The deadline for accomplishing it.
What successful completion of the goal or task looks like.
Finally, great leaders never miss an opportunity to reinforce their expectations with the people they lead. Repetition is a great tool for reinforcing expectations. The more you keep your expectations in the forefront of the minds of the people you lead, the more likely they will be to focus their attention and efforts on achieving them.
Skills and Habits are formed and reinforced by clear expectations that come with clear expectations. As a leader you must “Inspect what you expect”. Never be satisfied by mediocre results. The Scout Oath says that we will do our BEST.. not our “Good enough”. Clear expectations will lead to higher skill levels and good habits.
Note- This is the First block of instruction for our Troop Junior Leader Training. Once expectations are clear to everyone, it is easier to move on and expect the Junior Leaders to then learn in a practical way why leadership is important and what it takes to lead.
Have a Great Scouting Day!