● Ability to motivate
● Good in a crisis
Vision This is the simple four-part story—how to take control:
● This is where we are.
● This is where we are going.
● This is how we are going to get there.
● This is your (very important) role in helping us get there.
Ability to motivate This is where managers fail the most: managers manage upward much better than they manage downward: their boss is more important to their career than their team.
Decisiveness Teams and people hate uncertainty, which leads to doubt and to fear. They also resent the rework and delay that go with indecisiveness. Even when you feel uncertain, project confidence. Always wear the mask of leadership: do not let your uncertainty and doubt spread to your team. If you have to change course, then change course: your team may grumble, but not as much as if you make no decision at all.
● be decisive and positive: give clear direction and move to action.
● Project confidence, even if you have doubt in your heart. Wear the mask.
● Give support to those who need it. Avoid the blame game, leave the autopsy until later.
● Provide air cover: deal with the politics and noise that surround crises. Let your team get on with the work, rather than worry about the noise.
● over-communicate: recognize that there will be confusion and doubt. Don’t let the doubt and the rumors build. Communicate positively, consistently and frequently.
● Can I trust my boss to do what they say?
● Can I trust my boss with my promotion and bonus?
● Will my boss be honest, open, and constructive with me about my performance?
● Can I rely on my boss to back me when I get into a corner?
If you can pass the test on those questions, you have a chance of meeting your team’s expectations of you.
Finally, note what is absent from your team’s expectations of you. They do not expect you to be charismatic and inspirational. This is just as well. Most of the bosses I have had or have interviewed would fail a charisma test. You cannot learn or acquire charisma. But you can acquire the other criteria expected of a good boss. If you meet your team’s top five expectations you will set yourself apart from most other bosses, and you will earn their loyalty.