By Jim Coyle

You could say I am a bit like the 5’-5” basketball coach when it comes to Leadership and Management.  I am pretty good at coaching great leaders and managers, but I wasn’t built to “play” the game myself.   This is where the story begins.

I was working with one of my great teams of leaders and their managers in a session we call the mid-managers session.  It is a group of about 25 people at a horseshoe-shaped table in a big training room.  In this session, I was helping the team to understand the toolset that will enable them to be great, as well as the five attributes of great leaders and the five attributes of great managers.

The toolset (as you can you imagine if you know me) is EOS, and the attributes are the basis for the book, How to Be a Great Boss by Gino Wickman and Rene Boer.  As we go through some of the questions from the book, we start to see a pattern; one I had seen in other sessions like this, but I was in a bit of a playful mood.

The group was working through how you keep expectations clear with their direct reports.  One of the teams asked, “Jim, I am feeling good about how to make sure my team is clear on my expectations of them but not so much on how to get clear on their expectations of me.”

The Secret Ingredient to Get Clear on Expectations

Many of the others nodded in agreement with the innocent victim’s question.  “Okay, I am now about to tell you the secret ingredient to great management, which also happens to be how you get clear on your teams’ expectations of you.  Now, this is definitely something you want to write down.”  The group all prepared to write down my breakthrough management technique.  I left a pregnant pause and said, “You have to ask. That is right, you actually have to ask them what their expectation is of you.”

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Yeah, I received a bit of a groan from the group, but it is this simple.  Every member of your team is different and has different needs and management expectations.  This makes management tough but also much more fun.  In this world of management, where you have to manage everyone the way they need to be managed, it is essential that you ask.  Ask them what their expectations of you are, what the right Meeting Pulse™ is for them, how best to communicate with them, and what makes them feel most appreciated.  You will always get more value from a team that is getting their needs met.

If you are looking to really get the most from your people and be the manager your team deserves, then get out there and ask.

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