Five Examples of Leadership Expectations

Establishing a firm set of expectations for those who lead is essential in running a successful small business, be it a brand new start-up or a seasoned company. Leadership expectations are high today. According to Northeastern University, in a recent survey, 58 percent of businesses say their most important strategic priority is to close leadership skill gaps. Leaders must not only hold everyone in their charge accountable for their work and actions, but hold themselves accountable as well. Thus, they should be setting an example of what they expect from the team.


The five qualities that businesses expect from leaders are integrity, goal achievement, the ability to motivate, innovation and collaboration.

Leading with Integrity

Maintaining an ethical business is impossible without ethical leaders. By exhibiting a high level of integrity, employees in leadership positions will demonstrate to other workers their expectations. The manner in which a leader handles challenging situations or conflicts is one example of leadership opportunities for modeling strong integrity. By dealing with a conflict directly and in a transparent manner, leaders prove themselves to be honest, forthright managers.

Setting and Achieving Goals

Any business that claims to be goal-driven must have leaders who not only set, but achieve their goals. In doing so, leaders make their priorities for both themselves and their workers clear. When a team fails to meet its goals, leaders are expected to provide constructional feedback and suggestions for improvement. If goals are achieved, leaders should acknowledge this while simultaneously raising standards for the next project.

Ability to Motivate Employees

Leaders must inspire a high level of commitment and performance from employees and other stakeholders.. Motivation should not be entirely negative or positive, but a mixture of both. For example, a leader might introduce initiatives that either reward employees based on outstanding performance or punish them for poor performance. Which he chooses, and the combination of negative and positive reinforcement he uses, will outline his expectations and ideally serve to motivate his team.

Innovation and a Desire to Improve

Outstanding businesses are such thanks to workers who constantly strive to improve. These organizations must have innovative leaders who can see past immediate projects, objectives and successes and develop new, original ideas to stay ahead of their competitors. Leaders can inspire and draw out innovation in their employees by constantly asking questions and paying attention to any worker with valid concerns or solutions.

Collaborate and Lead Teams

Employees are often expected to collaborate with one another, others in their industry and with clients. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Labor defines a team leader as “an employee who facilitates his/her team's processes by working collaboratively with the team to ensure that they complete their tasks effectively and efficiently, by maintaining good working relationships, and by coordinating with the manager and others on goals, priorities, team needs, and achievements.” Leaders can encourage a collaborative spirit by demonstrating strong communications skills, not only with the employees they oversee but with their own employers, clients and customers.