They are unclear is because we are unclear

Watched ‘The Art of Coaching” over the past couple of days on HBO. This documentary gives us a glimpse into the long relationship between head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban.

So many details to note for leadership uber nerds like me. One of them had to do with expectations.

Saban remarked that when he was the defensive coordinator under Belichick for the Cleveland Browns he always knew what the expectations were. Elaborating, Saban said that in a number of situations assistant coaches are simply unclear about exactly what is expected of them. They think they know, but it has never been made explicit.

I have been thinking more about this plague of missing or misunderstood expectations. One stat I saw on expectations noted that only half of us (half!) know what is expected of us at any given time at work.

This is a classic leader problem.

The reason we are unclear about what is expected is because the leader is unclear about what is expected. We are all guessing. We are all stumbling around in the dark trying to connect disparate dots to gauge how well we are doing.

Here’s a self assessment question: On a scale of 1-10, how clear am I on what my own expectations are for my team?

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on December 13, 2019

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