3 min read

Essay: Managing Expectations

A short break from the usual curation format - let's talk about expectations in the workplace!

You can read my original (short) blog post here

Expectations play a crucial role in personal and professional relationships. They help set the foundation for understanding what is required from each party involved. However, unmet or misaligned expectations can lead to frustration, disappointment, and conflict. In this blog post, we will discuss a series of questions you can ask yourself to ensure that you manage expectations effectively and facilitate a successful partnership.

Clarifying Your Expectations

Before addressing the issue of unmet expectations, it’s essential to first examine and clarify your own expectations. Reflect on the following questions:

  • Do I know what I expect?
  • Can I describe when my expectation is being met and not?
  • Is it reasonable/possible to expect that in this situation from this person?

By answering these questions, you gain a better understanding of your expectations, ensuring they are specific, measurable, and realistic. This clarity will help you communicate your expectations effectively and avoid misunderstandings.

Communicating Your Expectations

Once you have a clear understanding of your expectations, the next step is to communicate them to the other person. Open, honest communication is key to managing expectations successfully. Consider these questions:

  • Have I communicated that expectation to the other person?
  • Have I asked them what they think I expect from them?
  • Does what they have told me about what I expect match my expectation?
  • Have they agreed that it is reasonable for me to expect that from them?

By discussing your expectations openly, you create an opportunity for the other person to voice their understanding of the expectations, clarify any misconceptions, and agree on the reasonableness of the expectations.

Providing Support to Meet Expectations

It’s important to recognize that the other person may need support to meet your expectations. Addressing this aspect can lead to a more productive relationship. Reflect on these questions:

  • Have they told me what support they need to meet that expectation?
  • Have I explained to them what support I think they have asked for?
  • Have they agreed that I accurately described the support they are asking for?
  • Have I agreed it is reasonable/possible to provide that support?
  • Have I agreed to ensure that support?

By understanding and addressing the support needed, you can create an environment where the other person feels empowered to meet the expectations.

Ensuring Commitment and Support

Finally, to effectively manage expectations, it’s essential to ensure that the other person has committed to meeting your expectations and received the necessary support. Reflect on these final questions:

  • Have they committed to meeting my expectation?
  • Have they received the support we agreed on?

By securing a commitment and providing support, you are fostering an environment of mutual understanding, trust, and cooperation, which is essential for managing expectations.

The Importance of Well-Defined Roles and Responsibilities

One crucial aspect of managing expectations effectively, particularly in a workplace setting, is to establish clear roles and responsibilities for team members. This helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures that everyone knows what is expected of them. When roles and responsibilities are well-defined, team members are more likely to be on the same page regarding their tasks, leading to a smoother and more efficient workflow.

To create well-defined roles and responsibilities within your team, consider the following:

  • Define individual roles and their associated tasks and responsibilities.
  • Ensure that everyone on the team understands their role and its importance within the team’s overall objectives.
  • Encourage open communication among team members to address any concerns or questions regarding their roles.
  • Periodically review and update roles and responsibilities to accommodate changes in the team or project requirements.

Managing expectations is an ongoing process that requires open communication, understanding, and support. Establishing clear roles and responsibilities within your team can significantly contribute to this process, ensuring that everyone knows what is expected of them and minimizing the potential for confusion. By asking yourself the questions outlined in this  post, engaging in honest dialogue, and implementing well-defined roles, you can create a foundation for successful collaboration and prevent disappointment or conflict. Remember, clarifying your expectations, communicating them effectively, offering support, ensuring commitment, and fostering a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities are vital steps to managing expectations and fostering a productive relationship.

For a short list of questions to ask yourself next time you’re getting frustrated with someone’s performance, have a look at the original post.