If responsibility is the foundation, then expectations are the framework for healthy, interdependent relationships at work. Interdependent partners in effect look at each other and say “your expectations of me in this relationship are legitimate.” In unhealthy relationships, one person assumes the posture that “only my expectations of you are legitimate – your expectations of me are irrelevant.”
Even if your boss assumes this unhealthy posture toward you, it does not relieve you of the responsibility to expect things of her in her role as a leader. Much of the malaise we see in leadership today is not so much a failure of leadership as it is a failure of followership. Way too many followers don’t see it as part of their legitimate role to have expectations of leaders and to hold them accountable. If we don’t assume this posture as followers, healthy relationships at work will always elude us.
Great leaders not only hold people accountable for reasonable and explicit expectations, but also invite accountability from all their followers. If you are a purposeful leader, followers that hold you accountable for reasonable expectations does not threaten you at all.
Once you know the expectations of your partners, make a promise to deliver. Any of you that have ever made a promise know that is a different level of commitment. Promises enable the strong, binding ties of covenantal relationships.
Want to take your leadership to the next level? Make time to ask your constituents what they expect of you, promise to deliver, and invite them to hold you accountable.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!