Leadership Story | Leaders Set Expectations

During the second of three coaching sessions following an Academy Leadership Excellence Course, a client in a highly technical profession critical to national defense shared an uncomfortable decision made since our first coaching call. Turns out the client fired a team member, who was described in our initial discussion as a β€œchallenge employee.” Chances are you may have a similar term for someone at your workplace.

While sharing the history leading to this event, the client revealed that performance issues were allowed to fester. Because substandard performance was tolerated, others team members were eventually asked to backfill work not being completed. Toward the end, the client attempted to highlight the mission critical nature of the work, but in the end it was too little too late. 

This is one of many typical situations a Personal Leadership Philosophy is meant to preemptively address. Recall, an effective Personal Leadership Philosophy includes:

What leadership means to each of us
Our personal values
Operating principles
Personal idiosyncrasies
Commitment to receive feedback for our own growth as a leader

This was a powerful coaching session. The client realized expectations were not properly set and agreed-upon at the time of hiring, and ultimately the entire team was affected. While priorities were eventually communicated, recovery was no longer practical. Rather than point fingers or make excuses, the client realized a leadership responsibility had been missed. He is now actively sharing his leadership philosophy, and has already received positive feedback afterward.

Does this story sound familiar? It probably does. Remember, our leadership philosophy allows for continuously improving individual, team and organizational performance. Leaders set expectations.