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  • Writer's pictureMegan Robinson

Shouldn’t Have to: Realigning Your Expectations

How many times have you said while on the job:

“This is something I shouldn’t have to do.”

“They should know better.”

Whether it’s having to take a call, pick up another teammate’s assignment, or check a project for mistakes, these are all things people have said that they “shouldn’t have to do.”

But why shouldn’t we?

Do you have a management mentality?

Management and leadership tasks often get lumped together, but in fact, they are very different activities. Managments is about the process, and leadership is about the people. When it comes to a process, there are no should or shouldn'ts because it is well-defined and clear. Management does not create ambiguity or assumptions, but your shouldn’t are littered with them. When you take that management mentality and start applying it to your leadership, that’s where the shouldn’t start to creep in. If your missed expectations are not addressed, alignment and clarity are not created then your “shouldn’t” can fester in frustration instead of being an indicator for action.

The cultural impact of shouldn’t

When you start assuming what your team “should know” or why “it shouldn’t be so hard” you begin to lose trust and respect for those around you. Instead of helping, serving and leading you start to bring down your team and create doubt in their capabilities. Sometimes, it’s hard for one of your employees to do something because maybe they haven’t done it before. But when you create an environment of “you should know how to do this,” that employee will never have the courage to speak up and ask for help. For example, if you know that there is a miscommunication issue on your team, don’t immediately blame the team for those issues. Ask yourself, “What can I do for my team to help with this problem?” You have to reframe your approach in order to correctly address the problem and find a solution.

Your leadership challenge

When it comes to leadership, the reality is there is nothing you shouldn’t have to do. It is your privilege to be in a position to support those around you. To help solve problems, to identify the challenges and to rise to the occasion. To solve the “shouldn't”, you're going to need to lean into your leadership skills. Reflect on what you really mean, realign your expectations and keep confidence in yourself and your team. Everything you believe you shouldn’t have to do, I guarantee you that those are all leadership activities because it deals with people, and it deals with leading those people.

The next time you hear someone complaining about what they shouldn’t have to do, consider asking them why. After asking why a couple of times you will get to the root of the problem. Wherever their expectations are not aligning with reality, there is an opportunity for communication, clarity and collaboration. So instead of complaining about the shouldn’t let’s go out and fix them.

To be the most effective leader you can be, you need to let go of the shouldn’t and embrace the challenges ahead. If you’re struggling with what you should or shouldn't do, what your leadership role means or how to shift your style, I’m here to help. Schedule a call and let’s work together to bring out the best leader you can be and your team deserves.


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