Expect vs. Require

expectation weekly workout Oct 07, 2022

It is evident that one of the characteristics found in great leaders is their ability to effectively manage multiple areas of a business.

What might not be so obvious is how necessary it is that they also manage their own expectations. As with many other characteristics “expectations” are not necessarily negative until and unless they are out of balance.

I believe that one of the contributors to leaders who struggle with delegation is their unrealistic and unexamined expectations. More specifically their expectations of the intangibles.

When you are engaged in expectation it means that you are peering into the future and anticipating or assuming a preferred outcome.

As a leader and visionary, it is important that you are skilled at seeing potential future outcomes, however, when those expectations are unquantifiable and unreasonable the results can be detrimental.

Intangible expectations often include:

  • Expecting others to share your work ethic
  • Expecting others to share your enthusiasm
  • Expecting others to share your vision
  • Expecting others to share your beliefs, values, and attitudes

When working with leadership coaching clients one of the challenges that I often see is their assumption and resulting disappointment when these types of expectations are not being met.

You are the leader because as a leader you embody qualities and characteristics that stand out and are therefore not common to most people.

When you assign indeterminate expectations to others you are potentially creating an environment where dissatisfaction and frustration become part of the culture.

If you as the leader are conveying frustration and annoyance, your teams pick up on those signals and eventually become disappointed and disengaged.

This can be tricky because as the leader you are ultimately responsible for outcomes and therefore must drive results.

However, results are better achieved when your expectations are realistic. To expect others to be like you is not a realistic expectation.

It is very difficult to operate without expectations, but you can manage your expectations so that they are sensible.

By managing your expectations, you do not set yourself up to react negatively when the people you lead do not align with certain expectations.

As a leader, you can reasonably expect that your team members will not necessarily:

  • Share your work ethic
  • Share your enthusiasm
  •  Share your vision
  • Share your beliefs, values, and attitudes

Accepting this allows you to create strategies around the reality of any given situation instead of repeatedly being frustrated when reality does not meet your expectations.

I like the concept of requirement vs. expectation. For me, requirement is more definable and quantifiable. It provides a basis for you as a leader to clearly identify and communicate the absolute essentials necessary to reaching any goal.

Conduct your own internal investigation related to the expectations of your team members. Identify those expectations that are causing you the most frustration.  Ask yourself if those expectations are crucial.

If you find that certain of your expectations are unrealistic, shift your thinking from how you think things “should be” to instead identifying what is completely necessary.

Once identified, you can spend your time and energy shaping and clearly communicating to your team members those things that are absolutely vital in reaching organizational goals.

Be BOLD… manage your EXPECTATIONS!

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