Great expectations

Great expectations

I quite often find myself frustrated with someone because they haven’t met my expectations, and I know I’m not the only one! We continuously expect more –  increased productivity, innovative thinking, new solutions, over delivery in a shorter time. The list is endless. We’re constantly encouraged to give more of ourselves and expect more from others, often in ways which are unrealistic and unjustified.

The problem is, these expectations we have of each other are very rarely actually clearly communicated, which sets up a situation for failure. We’re bound to fall short if we have no idea what people expect of us, and in current times, the expectations are generally quite high. When these expectations are not met, we are disappointed and frustrated and could think the person is not as smart, talented, understanding or forgiving as what we had assumed. And right there is the catch – we assume. We assume someone has the skills, has the experience and the understanding and can do something right on point to what we expect, when in reality they’re just starting out or their circumstances are totally different to what we assume. We assume that everyone understands how we understand and will deliver how we deliver. Nine out of ten times, this is not the case. It is a vicious circle.

With two little people in our family, our lives are quite chaotic and we’re often playing tag team to keep everyone entertained and get them fed, bathed or dressed. Having spent many months away from work to be with these special two all day and every day, their routine and habits are well known to me and when 5pm arrives, I could do dinner and bath time with my eyes closed. What I frequently forget is that these routines are not as well known to their dad, who is eager to be part of the chaos but, more often than not, is reprimanded for not knowing how or when or what. The same could be said about things around our house. What I try to remember more is that I need to just communicate the expectation and not assume that he thinks the way I do, notices the things I do and takes action in the same way I do.

Similarly, in a corporate environment, the expectations are very high but clear communication of exactly what is expected, as well as the guidance along the way, is often lacking. The situation that unfolds is one of uncertainty and lack of confidence, with hesitance or fear to seek clarity, and ultimately a septic team dynamic which does not bode well for staff retention and a positive team morale.

The expectations may be great, but if we communicate these openly and clearly, with the view to equip and enable, the results could be exceptional.

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