For first-time leaders and long-time leaders, there are several fundamental realities regarding employees’ expectations of their leaders that must be understood and accepted by good leaders. Employees expect their leaders:
• To always be engaged in their organization’s business and daily operation,
• To be approachable to answer their questions or provide advice,
• To always be ready to take on the issues and problems of the day,
• To represent their interests at meetings and briefings,
• To leave their personal troubles at home,
• To be objective and open minded when presented with different opinions or alternative suggestions, and
• To be impartial and not show any favoritism with their team members.
Based on this list, leaders need to recognize that employees’ expectations of anyone in a leadership position are extremely high and will demand their attention. Good leaders will embrace these realities and respect the views of their employees. Poor leaders will be defensive and push back. Good leaders understand that the continued employment and careers of their employees depends on investing in the training and development of their workforces to effectively handle today’s operations, while preparing workers to deal with future challenges. Progressive and forward thinking leaders have a responsibility to ensure that their organizations and their workforces remain relevant and competitive. Good leaders work tirelessly to get the job done, recognizing that their success is directly related to having trained, motivated, and capable workforces. Employees want their leaders to be good leaders who understand and champion their interests. Workforces that are led by poor leaders know that their employment, careers, and reputations are in jeopardy and they live every day with a high degree of uncertainty about what will happen to them tomorrow. Good leaders’ expectations of themselves are that they must be “on the job” constantly working to ensure the success of their organizations and employees. Again, being a leader is not an eight to five occupation. That hard reality becomes the personal duty and immense responsibility that is demanded of all good leaders 24/7.
Paul Okum has 40 years’ experience with the Federal Government in the Departments of Transportation, Interior, Army, and Defense in numerous leadership positions, including being a US Army Officer and a human resources director. Mr. Okum has written “Leadership DNA,” a provocative and useful guide book about identifying, selecting, and developing natural born leaders. This guide book explains the various aspects of leadership, including examining good leaders’ behavior patterns as well as learning how to achieve your objectives and deal with poor managers that can potentially cripple you and your organization.
For more information about Paul Okum and Leadership DNA, visit