We often don’t express our expectations to others and yet we expect them to deliver on our unexpressed expectations. These unexpressed expectations cause unnecessary resentment, anger, outbursts and unhappiness – even job losses!

Make a list of your expectations (tasks, activities or behaviours) not mentioned in staff’s job descriptions – for example:
  • I need feedback once a day.
  • I would like my staff to phone me on my cell phone when they experience difficulties, instead of waiting for me to return to the office.
  • I want my staff to discuss issues face-to-face instead of sending me text messages or emails.
  • I don’t like it when my staff copies me on all their emails.
  • I don’t like the way Brenda dresses. I want her to show less cleavage.
  • I don’t like it when someone calls me pet-names like “sweetheart” or “honey.”
  • I want Cindy to speak out in meetings instead of complaining after the meeting about something that was or wasn’t said.
  • I wish Paula would take charge when I’m not here, etc.

‘Wishing’ and ‘wanting’ won’t make it so. You need to be clear about your expectations and express them to the relevant person or team.  Also ask them to do the same.  Write an email asking your role-player(s) to consider their expectations of you and notify them that you intend to do the same. Set up a meeting with them – separately or collectively (if it is appropriate) so that everyone can express their expectations.

Rules for the ‘expectations’ meeting:
  1. The ‘expectations’ meeting needs to be conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.
  2. No blaming, shaming or anger.
  3. Use ‘I’ statements instead of ‘you’ statements. Saying “I would like you to…” or “please start doing….” sounds a lot better than “you never…”
  4. Don’t view this as an opportunity to confront – use this meeting to express your expectations respectfully and make it clear that you are not confronting.
  5. Thank them for listening and agreeing to meet your expectations.