Question: Why, in the Legitimate Leadership Model, is clarification of expectations so important for enabling contribution?
Answer: Legitimate Leadership says that people are far more likely to give when they have clarity regarding what they should be giving – as Marcus Buckingham said, “There is no such thing as a confused, productive employee.” Also, an employee cannot be held accountable if what s/he is accountable for has not been clarified and agreed in the first place.
More insight into this was recently offered by a young female manager participant in India. She said a two-way conversation allows people to talk about the Means and Ability they need for success – but also allows the leader to explain what growth s/he wants for the person by completing what may be a routine task.
This links into the fundamental Legitimate Leadership concept of using the job to grow the person. For instance, you are going to install a new kiln next month – but your growth would be to control your short temper with your colleagues (a behavioural improvement). Or, you are going to do a life cycle costing of the economics of operating that kiln over a five-year period – which would result in a performance/skill improvement.
Another young leader in India used the analogy of a guided missile: your people could be highly motivated, full of potential and eager to show what they can do – but if you point them at the wrong contribution, or worse still don’t point them at anything, then this could result in chaos and devastation.