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It's NOT the thought that counts

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

You’ve heard the saying, “It’s the thought that counts,” but have you truly thought about the meaning?

One explanation of this saying is: Even when people do things for you and give you things that you don't actually want, you must always remember that it's the thought that counts.

An example of this is when a child cooks Mother’s or Father’s Day breakfast and destroys the kitchen and produces a 1-star meal. You don’t get angry because your child’s heart was in the right place.

In the workplace, when a coworker completes a project with little guidance but it’s not correct and must be redone, you’re fine with it because it’s the thought that counts. Right?

Probably not. My guess is you are not okay with it and you slip into your unconscious patterns of behavior of frustration and anger that further perpetuates the unhealthy situation.

Has this ever happened?  Would you like to avoid workplace drama and time-wasting scenarios like this?

You can. It starts with you. As the leader, it boils down to not fully articulating your expectations for your team. If you know what you need from your people and they know what is expected of them, imagine what your team can accomplish?

It’s more than just a thought. You must be deliberate in communicating clearly to the people you lead.

Here is a tool to help get you started.

Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What are my expectations for the people in my world?

  2. Where are my expectations on this scale?

  3. Have I communicated them clearly?

Are you resigned or limited? Maybe you lean more on unrealistic or impossible expectations.

Try looking inward to discover and understand what your expectations are for yourself. Do you hold yourself at an impossible standard or are you too resigned? Be honest with yourself.

Invite each of your team members in for an open conversation to hear how they interpret your expectations and ask what their realistic expectations are for themselves. You will see that each person experiences you differently based on things such as his/her personality and professional development level. You might find that someone wants to do more than what you are requiring. Maybe another staff member isn’t meeting your current expectations because his/her role is not clearly defined.

It’s NOT the thought that counts with leading people – it’s the intentional work to move into and stay in the realistic area.

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