Everything in our lives automatically has an expectation attached to it. That’s the way we are wired.
Expectations are a belief centred on the future that may or may not be realistic, and can be positive or negative.

Because they have the power to make people gravitate toward something, move away from it, or flat out reject it, they are a powerful force, something that has to be intentionally managed. And this is the challenge every leader faces – to manage this realm of expectations.


    What everyone who leads a group of people wants, or expects, is for all involved to buy into, subscribe and throw their full focus, commitment and effort behind achieving the mission you are commissioned with. You also want and expect this to happen without conflict, friction, disengagement, or dissent – you want it all to come together seamlessly.


    Those involved in the group also have expectations, but these are rarely aligned to what the leader wants. This is where the biggest challenge for a leader exists, and where the challenge starts for everyone that has to follow the leader. However, at its core is the biggest expectation we all have – trust.


    It is rare that expectations align. Each person has their own set of expectations and most of the time they are not in alignment with a group, and are mostly in a tolerant state bordering on conflict.

    We are all wired as expectant creatures. We are a collection of what we want to happen in our universe, and what we do not want to happen. We will always put ourselves and what we expect first. It takes a lot to shift us to another state where we align with other expectations instead of our own.

    We are a walking, talking embodiment that is constantly asking the question, “what’s in it for me?”, and when the answers around us fail to resonate, we move on until we find something that does.

The key to leading is the alignment of expectations

When expectations are aligned they produce great energy, momentum, cohesion and outcomes. Aligned expectations create a powerful bond and forward moving force.

Unaligned, they are the root of disharmony, conflict, disillusionment, resistance and disengagement; and in its worst state has the ability to rapidly turn into a highly destructive force.


So what is Expectational Leadership?

It is the skills, ability and means to align the different and conflicting expectations of a group, and to focus it all on a common objective – the defined expectation.

Expectational leadership is not really something new. It is also not something that is suggesting a whole­sale replacement of previous leadership theories and models.  On the contrary, it supports them. Elements of expectational leadership are echoed in transformational, servant, and authentic leadership, for example, and these concepts are carried forward. However, expectational leadership amplifies and builds on these known attributes to define a powerful new capability uniquely adapted to a diverse environment.

Understanding and being adept at expectational leadership will help leaders thrive in their increasingly diverse environment. It also helps by formulating a central anchor, a blueprint form which to operate.

How do you align expectations?

Balance the 4 building blocks (dimensions) that are the foundation of what leadership encompasses

There is a symbiotic relationship between the realm of the human soul, mind or spirit [psyche]; the realm where logic provides the structure and order we need to justify things; where we subscribe to the values and ethics we choose to live by; and the realm where we fit into a group, a team or tribe who think, work and move psychologically, logically and culturally together.

These four realms are inter-connected. Each has a push and pull power over the others. The art of leadership is to understand these four realms and shift them to a balance point.



This is the expectational realm, the place where five of the most powerful dimensions in our lives continually interact with one another. It is where we constantly search for the answer to “what’s in it for me”, and where we align with something or move away from it.

It is where our emotions, worldview, behaviors and the value we attach to everything exists. This is everyone’s headspace, where expectations get their life, and where alignment takes place or not



All those management theories, methods, and tools you know about, have studied, or are going to learn – this is where they find their true usage. In this domain you will find the essential components required to keep the Psyche domain balanced. It is here that you will find the formula to set things up for success from the outset; but it is also the place where you can determine what is causing the Psyche domain to be out of balance, or out of alignment.



Everything can be used for good or evil. It all depends on this domain. You will either subscribe, or not, to the guiding beliefs or ideals of an individual or group. If your ethos does not align to that of the group, team, organization, company or anything else, then alignment will not take place. This is a space that is purely between you and yourself – but it is susceptible to manipulation by others.



This is the team domain where alignment is essential. Here you manage expectations internal to the team and external. It is the space where we find our meaning in what we do and where we come together in the melting pot that is the domains of Psyche, Logic, and Ethos. This collective space has a direct bearing back on all three of the other building blocks. It is where you live and see the heartbeat, and where you will experience the harmony and balance, or the opposite. This is also where everyone needs to lead.