Managing expectations is gamesmanship—aligning them is leadership.
This is perhaps the shortest chapter in the book, but it is also one of the most important. Few things harm the forward progress of an organization like leaders who fail to understand the value of aligning expectations. What leaders say, how they say it, and whether or not they follow through on what they say matters greatly.
Leaders can overcome many mistakes, but rarely can they overcome a loss of trust and credibility stemming from a failure to keep their commitments. Equally as difficult to overcome is a gap in trust that occurs when leaders ask for one thing, but hold people accountable for something altogether different from what they asked for.
When it comes to leadership, I can share the issues of creating and delivering expectations are no small matter. In fact, understanding how to come out on the right side of the expectation curve can often be the difference between being viewed as an average leader and one held in high regard.
Moving the goal posts by arbitrarily raising and lowering expectations creates confusion, and is often an intellectually dishonest exercise. Aligning expectations doesn’t need to be difficult—set them, align them, stick to them, and execute on them. Attempting to lead without an understanding of how to hack the expectation gap is simply an exercise in frivolity.
Conflicts, disagreements, disputes, and litigation are ...