I feel like this is a lesson I should have gotten somewhere along the way, in school, grad school or a conference, somewhere but it is a leadership lesson I have been learning on my own. As a leader what are your expectations for the people you are leading?
Often, I find the people I am leading do not meet my expectations. Which can be very frustrating for a leader; especially, when they are teenagers. Typically, we chalk it up to apathy or laziness and dismiss the possibly it could be our own fault they are not meeting our expectations. This has been a challenge for me over the last several years with our Student Leadership group. On the flip side there is nothing more discouraging than constantly trying to meet someones expectations you are unaware of. It can only lead to failure and frustration.
This year, I decided to approach the expectations from a different angle. I created a covenant for the students and the parents to sign, laying out exactly what I expect from students serving in this ministry. After I handed out the expectations and asked them to sign and return, I had a conversation with a couple of our seniors in Student Leadership. They were wondering why this was necessary, not in an upset way but a curious way. They kind of understood these expectations. So I asked them specifically, did you know I expect you to… and I went through the list of expectations. Several they understood from the beginning, some they had figured out over time and one they did not even know. So why did it surprise me that my expectations often went unmet?
In leadership, often our greatest frustration comes from unmet expectations. What if instead of looking at the people not meeting our expectations, we looked in the mirror at the one creating the expectations. Expectations not being met? Ask yourself, are your expectations clear? How do they know your expectations? Have you communicated the expectations clearly? There is a great difference between expectations being clear in your head and the expectations being clear in other people’s heads.
So enter the covenant. Here is what I came up with for anyone in our Student Leadership group. What are your thoughts and/or feedback on the covenant? How do you clearly communicate expectations?