As part of The Gettysburg Leadership Experience, executives explore how leaders set expectations for team members. A senior leader shared this simple framework he uses to give general guidance and to start an on-going conversation about development.
Act: Within your defined set of responsibilities. You recognize the situation and know the solution. Take care of it.
Act & Report: Also within your defined set of responsibilities, but a little bigger with broader impacts. Take care of it AND tell me about it.
Recommend: Approaching or exceeding your defined limits of responsibility, but you have a solution. Make a recommendation to me and get my buy-in.
Ask What to Do: You know there’s a situation that needs a remedy, but neither your experience nor your research delivers a solution. You describe the situation to me and we have a discussion on possible solutions, during which I’ll ask a lot of questions. Sometimes you’ll decide, sometimes we’ll make a joint decision. You execute. As a result, you gain experience in this particular situation, and reach a higher plane of development.
Wait to be Told: You don’t even recognize there’s a problem. I point out the problem, we work together to develop the solution. You gain experience and develop as a leader. If you recognize a problem but wait to be told what to do because you are afraid to speak up, then your most pressing need is a new level of moral courage. This deficit of courage is not admirable and not sustainable. Address it (you can ask for help) or move on to another opportunity.