By Anthony T. Eaton   |   November 2017


The way employees treat their customers, and each other is a direct reflection of how leaders treat their employees. It’s the leader’s responsibility to create an environment that fosters positive behaviors which in turn are reflected not only to customers but each other and the rest of the organization. 

So how do leaders do it? Here are some strategies.

  • Set Expectations

Leaders must communicate expectations, make sure they are understood, and then hold employees accountable. 

Communicate expectations verbally and get an acknowledgment of understanding. Put expectations in writing and make them part of the employee review process. Talk about them during one on ones and if you do not have regular one on ones, then start. Let them know if they if they are not meeting expectations and when they are exceeded, Recognize employees who exceed expectations as a way to reinforce them. 

  • Give Feedback​

We all want to know how we are doing, excellent, or needs improvement. No matter what position an employee holds they not only want it, they deserve it. There should be no surprises when it comes to performance good or otherwise. 

How often have you heard or told your employee they are not meeting expectations; probably more than you have told them they are or even that they are exceeding them.It should never be a surprise and employees should never wonder where they stand. 

Having a regular one on ones is a great way to do this. When you get to the end of the year, you know you have already addressed deficiencies and recognized success.

  • Give Recognition 

This is one of the simplest things to do, but all too often it is last on the list. Leaders must recognize and acknowledge. Leaders must be watching for opportunities to give recognition to employees. One on ones are not just for the times when people exceed expectations, but also when people consistently meet them. 

Not everyone will be a superstar, some will be a “steady Eddy, ” and that is ok. They are in no less in need of or deserving of recognition than the person that consistently goes above and beyond. Organizations need both, and bo are equally entitled to recognition. Not everyone is a superstar, and that is ok. 

Don’t wait for some extraordinary moment, give recognition and acknowledge employees for doing what is expected of them the same way you would if they were not. Employees want to know that what they are doing is not only appreciated but that not going unnoticed. When they go above and beyond expectation take note by acknowledging it quickly in a way that is meaningful to the person. Be intentional and specific, you have to make efforts to be aware and then call attention to it by being specific about what and when.

  • Hold Them Accountable 

If expectations have been set and reinforced, then there must be accountability. Holding employees accountable does not mean that leaders should micro-manage, but the leader should periodically inspect what they expect, and if someone is not meeting expectations, they should hold them accountable. 

One of the hardest things a leader has to do is holding people accountable, but failing to do it can have a ripple effect and catastrophic results within a team and organization. 

Leaders must address deficiencies quickly; re-state expectations and what will happen if their direct report does not meet them. Again, there should be no surprises. 

  • Hold Yourself Accountable 

The Buck Stops with the Leader. Leaders must also hold themselves accountable for exhibiting behaviors that are in line with their expectations of others.  Leaders must own the performance or lack thereof of their employees. 

Even when a leader has done everything they are supposed to do, the buck should stop with them. Sometimes it is just not the right fit, and although no one can know this in advance, a great leader owns it no matter what because success and failure ultimately cast the spotlight on those in charge.

[  "You don't need a title to be a leader - and having a title doesn't make you one."  ]