The Danger of Unhealthy Expectations to Leadership
February 6, 2014
TopicsLeadership, Leadership Development, set expectations, team member, Teamwork, unhealthy expectations
Leadership is a privilege but it is also a decision. People choose to follow you or you make a choice to lead them. Anyone can become a leader but because of the so-called "big expectations," many of us back off of the responsibility to lead. Leadership is not complicated. Rather it becomes complicated if we associate it with unhealthy expectations.
Expectation is such a big word. It is a standard which defines the effort and behavior of a person. Expectations can be motivating, healthy, and good, but they can also be discouraging, manipulative, and dangerous. Leaders have expectations of their subordinates and vice-versa. Setting expectations towards leaders are good but shouldn't become the team's goal.
To avoid getting plenty of disappointments and discouragements in an organization, it's time to reflect on yourself if you have unhealthy expectations towards your leaders that needs to change:
You expect leaders to be perfect all the time.
This is a subconscious expectation of most people. You cannot always expect perfection to the people who are on the pedestal or who hold a position. Nobody's perfect so do not expect them to have no flaws. Committing mistakes and failure are part of the learning process. Failure doesn't make a leader inefficient, it only shows that they're merely humans and they are learning.
Leaders are not born to be perfect at all times because they are also made to face trials and have faults. They don't have the power to control everything. The best leaders have a strong heart and a drive to achieve the team’s goals regardless of the challenges. If you don't want to get disappointed, stop looking for perfection because leaders will never live up to your expectations.
You expect leaders to be the smartest individual in the team.
Knowledge is important in leadership but it doesn't mean that your leader should be the smartest person in the room. The success of the team is because of teamwork and not because your leader is the smartest person in the group. A leader is generally judged based on his intelligence or particular skill set and not according to how he lead, how he understand each of his member's strengths and how he build a smart team. Some people were mistaken by this thought.
Two heads are better than one. We all know this saying and it is true when it comes to leadership. You should know that the success of the team lies not on the intelligence of the leader. The success of the team is because of teamwork. It is actually the team’s effort and contribution that makes a successful organization.
You expect leaders to demand respect.
Some people in authority make great demands from their subordinates. Demanding respect is bad for the team because demanded respect diminishes instantly. Leadership is not predicated upon a sense of entitlement. Team members don't follow position or authority, they follow leaders.
Effective leaders do not demand respect; they earn it. They do it through actions, by being respectful of people's opinion and ideas. Leaders are not people-pleasers. Do not expect that your leader has to please you or make demands from you in order for you to respect them.
Respect begets respect. If a leader knows how to give respect, team members will do the same in return and it will make the organization prosper. Submission is not insisted, it should be implied.
You expect leaders to not give up under any circumstances.
Some people say good leaders never give up. When leading gets difficult they expect leaders to keep moving forward until they reach their goals. This does not apply in all situations. When a particular tactic is not working anymore, the leader should know when to stop and re-route the team into the right direction.
Responsible leaders should know when to give up or stop in pursuing unrealistic goals and how to stand up after a failure. Doing this will not lessen their capabilities in effectively leading people hence it makes them a versatile leader who can adjust in sudden changes.
Each of us has our own expectations about effective leadership. Sometimes the kind of expectations we have are too ideal or unhealthy. It is natural to people to have a firm set of expectations towards leaders' performance but it would be better for the team if you have a proper set of realistic and appropriate expectations.
Do you have unhealthy expectations towards your leader that needs to change? Please share your thoughts about this topic.
Candace, thank you for bringing this up. Expectation IS such a big word – one that needs a lot of attention. Thank you for bringing this to light especially in the context of leadership.
It’s my pleasure Mary. I also think the same way. Thanks for your good review on this post.
Love this post! But we can also set high expectations of our selves when meeting other thought leaders. The first impression you give can inform how those around you will always see you and set those high expectations from the beginning.
It can be a burden but it is also certainly a necessity for executive-level job seekers:
Thanks for you post!
Thanks Anne. Just like what I’ve said in this post there’s nothing wrong in setting expectations as long as we set healthy and realistic ones.