“Do you have to look for good people to join your team, or do good people look for you?”

Great leaders define the expectations with every assignment. Unfulfilled expectations still bring life’s greatest disappointments. What happens when a team member disappoints you, or you disappoint a team member?

It helps if you ask three questions: First, do they know exactly what you want them to do? It’s called information and communication. Second, do they know how to do it? It’s called training until they are competent and they feel confident. Third, do they really want to do it? It’s called motivation on their part and inspirational leadership on your part. Don’t critique their performance until you answer these three questions in the affirmative.

Your ability to attract and retain valuable people increases in direct proportion to your ability to define and gain consensus on the expectations of their performance before they join your team. If you don’t, you can expect non-engaged, underperforming and poorly motivated people on your team.

People who cannot find fulfillment and value by associating with you and your team should not stay around too long, regardless of how good they perform. Their lack of motivated effort will damage the team’s effort and diminish your leadership in the eyes of the rest of the team. However, look in the mirror first before you start assigning blame, you may just find the problem.

Refresh, retrain, or remove underperforming team members, sooner rather than later. They seldom get better with age. Who is on your team today that needs inspiring? Who needs additional training? Who needs to be released so that they can find a better fit?

Leaders are often disappointed because their team doesn’t fulfill their expectations. Team members are often discouraged because their leader never showed them how to win. What’s the best way to deal with disappointment, yours and theirs?

Are you sure your team knows what you expect? How do you know? Is it fair to hold people accountable for expectations that have never been defined and are understood by everyone on the team? If those expectations are not written, do they really exist?

Great leaders recruit the right people. They make sure they understand the expectations of their assignment, are given adequate training and support, and then provided significant opportunities for them to win on a regular basis.

If your team members don’t feel like they’re winning by playing on your team, they will continue looking for a leader who will create those opportunities to win. Great leaders seldom have to look for good people, good people are always looking for a great leader to join.

How many good people are asking to join your team? How many good people have left your team in search of a leader who shows how to win more often? The answer to these two questions will tell you all you need to know about your leadership.