As I’ve been conducting many interviews lately for open positions on my team, the question that comes up on a fairly consistent basis (as it should) is around expectations. What do I expect from people that work with me and what do I value as a leader?
The list is not a short one but it is usually top of mind so I never have to think long before answering. Here are a few things that matter to me (which I think would find consistent across most businesses):
- Passion is definitely near the top of the list – I want to be surrounded by people that love coming to work every day, are excited about what they do and don’t watch the clock longing for the day to be over.
- Ability to challenge the status quo. When I ask why we do something a certain way and the response is “Because we’ve always done it that way”, that doesn’t sit well with me. Every year, every month and every day we need to re-evaluate the way things are done, cut our losses when an idea doesn’t work and try a new way of doing things when it makes sense. I want to have a team full of people who are willing to do that (and I do!).
- Consistency. This is in my top three, if not my #1. I prefer working with someone that is good or great on a consistent basis than occasionally outstanding or occasionally good. When you give someone a project to take on, there is so much “comfort” as a manager knowing exactly how it will be handled each and every time. I just love consistency.
- No use of the phrase “It’s not my job”. I have a tough time keeping quiet when I hear someone say “It’s not my job”. In today’s work environment almost anything and everything could become part of your job. Being agile, flexible and willing to learn is very critical for success so rather than someone looking at a task or project outside of their “day job” as an inconvenience, I’d prefer they look at it as an opportunity to learn. Some of the best things that have ever happened to me in my career are as a direct result of me doing things that “weren’t my job”.
- Trust. I worked for a leader a few years ago who lived and breathed the phrase “Say what you’re going to do and then do what you say” and those are some great words to live by. I think career success depends, for a large part, in your colleagues knowing when you say you’re going to do something, you do it. Period. Trust of course extends way beyond this, but trust in general is definitely an imperative in a good working relationship.
My list is actually longer than this, but before this turns into a chapter in a book rather than a blog post, I’ll wrap it up. In short, I don’t expect anything from my team that I
don’t expect from myself. I realize it’s constantly a work in progress (and I’m a work in progress!) but that’s what life is all about… right?