Thursday's Thoughts on Leadership: High Expectations Lead to High Performance

Leaders know high expectations lead to high performance. Leaders know that the more people believe in themselves, and their leaders believe in them, the more they will accomplish - at all levels. To ensure that people achieve their best, leaders have to take steps to bring forth the best from others. The first step is setting an expectation of high standards, which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Successful leaders have high expectations, both of themselves and of their charges. It is amazing to see how people react when high expectations are placed on them. If we expect them to succeed, they probably will. Bob Moles, who has always played a large role in my professional development and success, has always driven me by expecting my absolute best. He expected me to succeed. Where his expectations aligned with my determination and my performance, success followed. Those expectations became my own standard of success and thus they became my own expectations.

I used that as a foundation to set high expectations for everyone at Intero based on the expectations I have of myself. Leaders have to show the way. They cannot point in a direction and ask you to go, they have to take the first steps and ask you to follow. A leaders’ expectations are credible only if they are a reflection of their own record of achievement and dedication, and daily demonstrations of what and how things need to be done.

Leaders recognize the impact of self-fulfilling prophecies. Leaders treat people in a way that bolsters their self confidence, making it possible to achieve more than they may have initially believed possible of themselves.  The German writer Goethe, once penned the line, "Treat a man as he is, he will remain so. Treat a man the way he can be and ought to be, and he will become as he can be and should be." Success starts with leaders with the vision to set high expectations, it is reached by individuals with the drive to prepare and work hard enough to reach them.