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Career Advice: Are You Meeting Their Expectations?

Ramon Greenwood -- Here's a career tip you bank on: Understanding what your boss, your direct reports, and your peers expect from you and meeting those expectations is essential to your career success.

That’s the word from Bill Neale, a founding partner of Denison Consulting, a firm dedicated to studying the link between organizational culture and leadership to bottom line results.

Here’s a quick summary of research conducted by Denison:

1. The boss expects you to set and achieve strategy and objectives that support the long-term mission of the organization. “You can be the greatest team player in the world, or a wonderful ‘people person,’ but if you ignore the mission of your organization you’ll never satisfy the boss,” declares Neale, a leadership development expert.

2. Your direct reports expect you to promote teamwork, delegate authority, and responsibility, as well as encourage personal development. Therefore, getting your direct reports involved, motivated and committed is crucial. “If you don’t truly engage the folks who work for you, you won’t win a vote of confidence from them, and you’re not likely to fully leverage their energies and talents," according to Neale.

3. Peers expect you to be adaptable and consistent, and committed to the organization’s principles and values. Organizational peers are a difficult group to satisfy. “They may have less information about you, or view you as a competitor,” Neale says. “Peers, however, do place a high value on flexibility, the ability to surmount organizational boundaries and constraints, and to push alignment in the workplace.”

The point is if you’re serious about succeeding the first step is to become familiar with the various expectations -- both spoken and unspoken -- of your boss, those who report to you, and your peers.

To subscribe to Ramon Greenwood's free semi-monthly newsletter and blog please go to His advice comes from a world of experience, including serving as Senior Vice President of American Express, an entrepreneur, professional director, career coach and author.

© 2008 Ramon Greenwood

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