Expecting Greatness

by Russ Hill on April 13, 2010

I’m living in Interview World right now.

I’ve spent countless hours interviewing for a Sports Program Director position, a News Director/Assistant Program Director position, and now a Talk Show Host position.

The interview process involves hours and hours of time on the phone with candidates across the country and meeting after meeting of people we’re flying in as finalists.

In the last few days, I’ve had several conversations with people who’ve asked about my management style and my expectations of those I work alongside.  It’s an interesting question because I pride myself in having incredibly high expectations of those I work with and for.  In every annual performance review I’ve ever had with a boss I’ve always communicated that I expect my boss to make me better.  I expect them to invest time and energy in me.  I want to be better because of things they’ve noticed about me and helped me improve, develop, overcome, avoid, etc.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate that many of my bosses have been willing and able to accomplish this task.  But, I’ve had some who haven’t.  And, I find that most people I work with aren’t used to working with someone who has very high expectations of them.

A long time ago I read a quote from a man I highly respected who said, “leadership is asking people to do things they don’t want to do.”  I’ve found that to be true.  The greatest leaders I’ve worked for and with have stretched me.  They’ve held up a mirror so I could see my weaknesses, and my strengths.  They’ve done it with class.  They’ve done it in a mentoring way.  And, when needed they’ve done it with gusto.  As I result, I’ve been able to become better.

The managers I’ve worked for who I didn’t really enjoy working with are those who seemed to have nothing to offer.  They didn’t expect much from me.  They didn’t challenge me to be better, give more, stretch, and contribute in different ways.  And, they didn’t appreciate my innovative side.

As a leader, I expect greatness.  I expect people to stretch.  I hope their jobs will be difficult.  I hope they feel it’s not easy to accomplish all that’s expected of them.  I expect that they want to grow and be more successful.  That comes through learning and doing what you haven’t done before.

My greatest growth has come when I’ve faced my greatest challenges and opportunities.

Doing the same thing everyday and never feeling challenged is so boring.  (And, it pays terribly.)

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