It was 1940 and Nazi Germany was on the warpath. Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France had fallen to blitzkrieg. England was surely next, with a large part of it’s forces facing certain annihilation at Dunkirk and some in Britain considering conditional surrender to Germany. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, the people of Britain decided to fight and never surrender. How did they know they could do this, seemingly against all odds? Winston Churchill told them. And kept telling them. And they believed.
A leader needs to tell those she leads what she expects from them. If you expect your people to be on time to meetings, tell them that’s what you expect. If you expect people to not engage in side conversations or check their text messages during a meeting, tell them that’s what you expect. If you expect your people to avoid gossip or otherwise badmouth their peers, tell them that’s what you expect.
Don’t waste time with assumptions as a leader. And don’t think people should just get it. They won’t unless you tell them.
It seems odd now to think that England would not have stood up and fought the German War Machine. But that is exactly the road they were on until Winston Churchill told them what he expected,
“Victory, however long and hard the road may be.”
Leaders set expectations and then live them. Are you setting expectations for your team?
Errol Doebler is the founder of Ice Cold Leader, a leadership consulting firm. After successful careers as a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and FBI Special Agent, Errol founded Ice Cold Leader to realize his passion of empowering great leaders and better human beings. Errol provides executive coaching, keynote speaking, and corporate retreats to individuals and teams across the world.
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