Aspirational Expectations

Dec 4, 2019 Leadership

Recently I was reminded about this concept while talking to a friend of mine.  We were discussing a particularly difficult set of circumstances and how radioactive they had become and that nobody wanted to deal with them or take responsibility for working through them to a successful conclusion. 

This led to the owner doing crisis control by barking orders and micro-managing all the related issues.  No one was operating at their best. Let’s be direct, in business our days are filled with challenges. In many ways, that’s why we get paid.  To solve the problems that others can’t or won’t. But the real opportunity here is to speak belief and encouragement into one another, especially during difficult times.

When we’re at our best!

This is leadership at it’s best and an opportunity for others to take the lead appropriately from wherever they may be sitting.  Three things are clear:

  1. People want to do a good job.  No one wants to fail.
  2. The team we have is the team that we’re supposed to have.  If it weren’t, others would be here. Together we must rise to the challenge.
  3. We must speak to our belief in working through this successfully by drawing on the talent, skills, and potential of the team we have.

“People want to do a good job.  No one wants to fail.”

The problem is we sometimes get into those situations where we find ourselves knee-deep in the swamp where no one can see the way through and all we focus on is why it won’t work.

This then is the perfect time for aspirational expectations.  It sounds something like this:

“Wow, this is a doozy!  But we have good people that want to do a good job so we’ll figure it out.”

This does three things:

  1. It speaks directly to the gravity of the situation.
  2. It pulls us together as a team where the sum is greater than the parts.
  3. It believes in others before they believe in themselves and sets the expectation for real success.

Bringing out the best in others

In the end, we want to bring out the best in people.  Focusing all of our energy on the problems we see, trying to find someone to blame and calculating the slim odds of success pushes people to make decisions out of fear.  That in no way helps. Be the person that believes in the team’s best to come out. You’ll be amazed at how your team rises to the challenge and finds the solution and you’ll be the one they go to get the boost they need to make it happen!

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