Great Expectations

I was jolted into reality last week at how easy it is for a leader, who is passionate about what you are doing, to fall into the trap of expecting super-human performances from your team. As a young and growing company, we are “green-fielding” our organisation: establishing procedures, roles and systems. And in doing this we need our team to be agile, to be super-human multi-taskers who step beyond their boundaries and job descriptions. What I have recently discovered is that perhaps my expectations are unfair. Some people are equipped to rise to the occasion, but others, especially the younger ones in a team, find themselves drowning due to no fault of their own.

It’s our job as leaders not to expect too much from these youngsters. It’s our job to make sure that they love what they do and that we develop their passion for an industry they have chosen as a career. We are there to guide, train and encourage them to be the best they can be.

Thank goodness for our open door policy at BON Hotels, as this is what brought to my attention that we had a drowning man amongst us. What I have learnt over the past week is that we cannot take advantage of the good nature of our youngsters who want to impress and make their mark. Richard Branson’s words ring clear – “Find good people and look after them”. Sometimes a young, encourageable staff member will not stand up and say – “I’m not coping”. Instead they will begin to hate their job, feel completely inadequate, dread Mondays and long for Fridays. There comes a point where you can push these people beyond their thresholds and the side-effects can be damaging. We need to be cognisant of skills and expertise and make sure that our inexperienced youngsters are not feeling overwhelmed.

Although as a young head office we need to grow organically, be lean and not throw more people at a task, we DO need to make certain that we don’t over-promote people but rather allow them to grow at their own, comfortable pace too.

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