The 7 Expectations of Great Leadership

Doing these seven things well can be the difference between being an average leader and an exceptional leader.

Great Leadership expectations

Great leaders above all need a keen sense of awareness. Awareness of their strengths and the strengths of their team members and how to leverage those strengths to get where they want to go and meet great leadership expectations. To produce long-lasting results, all leaders need a fresh look at the behaviors that actually contribute to performance, development, and success. Among these is being able to do seven things really well.

Leadership Expectations

1. Building mutually-beneficial relationships for leadership expectations

The stereotypical idea of a leader is someone who can do it all on their own. But this couldn’t be further from the truth regarding exceptional leadership. Great leadership expectations come with being able to accomplish goals by enabling their teams to be great. Leaders cannot exist without a group of people who are being led, which is why building relationships is the number one hallmark of a great leader. Connecting to people rather than with people is essential. Great leaders seek to really know their people for who they are rather than what’s in it for them. When that basic level of trust is established then the relationships are mutually beneficial.

2. Developing the people you lead 

As a leader, one of your primary responsibilities is to foster continuous growth and development among the individuals you lead. While this aspect of leadership may not always receive the attention it deserves in discussions, its significance cannot be understated. When employees do not feel that they have the opportunity to grow and advance in their roles, they are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere, leading to higher turnover rates and hindering organizational growth. Therefore, it is crucial for leaders to prioritize the development of their team members and make it a central focus. By investing in the growth and learning of your employees, you create an environment where personal and professional development is valued, and individuals are empowered to reach their full potential. This ongoing development should be seen as an integral part of great leadership, as it not only benefits the individuals but also contributes to the overall success and growth of the organization. By emphasizing continuous learning, providing opportunities for skill-building and advancement, and encouraging a culture of development, leaders can ensure that their teams are constantly evolving and improving, driving both individual and organizational success.

leadership expectations

3. Leading through change

Most human beings don’t like change but exceptional leaders can get around this because much of the job as a leader is about pushing people through things they don’t like. The key is to empower people to take ownership—this way people feel invested and like they are growing (see above). And, no matter what is happening in the world outside of the organization, great leaders keep moving forward and ensuring that the purpose, mission, and vision remain the same.

4. Inspiring the organization  

While inspiring people may seem like a “soft skill” it’s actually a critical part of great leadership. Leaders should provide inspiration so that others can find greater meaning in a vision or purpose. Without meaning, and without connecting inspiration to the individuals who follow you, you’ll find that those who follow will have a difficult time committing themselves to the greater purpose. This helps people see that every little thing they do matters.

5. Decisive Leadership  

Making no decision is actually a decision and is the worst type of decision a leader can make.  Leaders must make decisions and execute those decisions.  Even an incorrect decision is better than no decision at all.  Critical decision-making is a top skill of exceptional leaders. Evaluating plans, understanding risk, organizing thoughts, and creating action steps requires leaders to bring their whole selves and think critically. Success requires establishing an aim and devising a comprehensive, multifaceted approach to achieving it. Confidence in decision-making is another way great leaders establish trust among their people. Once a decision is made a great leader commits themselves and is ready to execute that decision.

6. Communicating clearly and concisely

Exceptional leadership goes beyond personal communication preferences; it entails understanding and adapting to the communication styles of others. Effective leaders recognize the importance of sharing meaningful information and ideas that drive informed actions and decision-making. Communication is not solely about conveying messages; it encompasses the exchange of information, active listening, asking thought-provoking questions, and engaging in collaborative brainstorming sessions. By fostering clear and inclusive communication, leaders create a dynamic environment where ideas flow freely, diverse perspectives are valued, and collective goals are achieved. Embracing this holistic approach to communication empowers leaders to inspire and connect with their followers, ultimately driving growth and success.

7. Creating an environment of accountability 

People expect their leaders to be accountable. But as a leader, you also expect your people to be just as accountable. A culture of accountability however starts with you. In practice, this may look like openly committing to initiatives, plans, or ideas so that everyone knows what you’re responsible for. It may also include you apologizing to those you lead when you drop the ball in a significant way. Accountability creates a better environment for your followers and allows them opportunities to become more efficient and creative through their own responsibilities.

8. Leadership and performance beyond expectations

Leadership that consistently delivers performance beyond expectations is marked by a combination of several key factors. Firstly, it requires visionary thinking, as exceptional leaders possess a clear and inspiring vision for the future that energizes and mobilizes their teams. They set ambitious goals that challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of what is possible. Secondly, exceptional leaders foster a culture of excellence, promoting a strong work ethic, continuous learning, and a commitment to high standards. They cultivate a sense of accountability and empower their team members to take ownership of their work and strive for excellence in everything they do. Thirdly, effective leaders build strong relationships and foster a sense of trust and collaboration among their team members. They create an environment where individuals feel valued, respected, and supported, leading to increased engagement, motivation, and loyalty. Finally, exceptional leaders lead by example, demonstrating integrity, resilience, and a willingness to go above and beyond to achieve outstanding results. By embodying these qualities and inspiring their teams, leaders can consistently deliver performance that exceeds expectations and drives organizational success.

Do you agree with these leadership expectations people have of great leaders? Contact or chat with us today to learn more about Inkling’s leadership development solutions.