It is a universal truth that you cannot lead if you do not know what is expected of you.
The book Mastering Leadership, by Robert Anderson and William Adams (Wiley, 2016) underscores the challenge of unspoken expectations that influence leadership effectiveness. The book argues that when we come into leadership, we are making promises. But we may not know it. Employees expect more from their leaders than leaders may realize. These are the implicit expectations that people may never say to you. They are below the water line. It is a very high bar to deliver on expectations that you may not know are there. But as a leader, the balancing act is one of communicating confidence while delivering on hidden expectations. But what are they? If we were to go into the minds of the people you lead, they might say this: “Treat me fairly, engage with me, inspire me, give me confidence that you and your leadership team are as competent in your jobs as you expect me to be in mine, and provide meaning and direction for my work.”
As the leader of your company, what is expected of you that your stakeholders are not saying? How can you deliver leadership promises of which you are unaware? How can you find out?
One idea from the book: Ask them.