The most productive people are those who know how to set and manage expectations.
In all different parts of our lives, we have expectations of ourselves and of others.
It’s only until we make sure that others know what is expected of them that we can begin to manage our expectations.
There are several different things that you can do to set clear expectations.
Know that it is important to have different expectations for your home versus work life, as well as your relationships.
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How To Set Expectations
The first step in being able to manage expectations is to set clear, reasonable, and reachable expectations.
For example, when you were growing up, you probably had chores. While doing these chores, your parents probably had expectations of you.
As a young child, you may have been expected to clean your toys, brush your teeth, and go to bed early.
The expectations probably changed when you were a teenager. For example, you may have had housekeeping chores as well as a curfew.
While you were growing up, your parents probably set the expectations for you. If you broke curfew, there was probably a consequence. There are many times in our lives where we experience the consequences of unmet expectations.
The best thing you can do to help with expectation management, no matter where you are, is to be clear about what you expect from others as well as what the consequences might be if those expectations are not met.
If you do not set clear expectations for your friends, family, or coworkers, how can you expect them to meet them?
You will want to make personal expectations, too. One way that you can set clear expectations for yourself is to be mindful of what it is that you want.
Once you know what it is that you want of yourself and others, work hard to help people know their expectations through communication.
If you get push back, don’t fret. You may need to better explain the expectations. Other times, you may need to edit your expectations.
Managing Expectations At Home
Ways that you can manage your expectations at home is first, to know what you want.
Do you think your husband needs to take out the trash while you’re responsible for other household chores?
If the two of you do not work together to set the standard, expectations can’t be met.
Make sure that you also set personal expectations. What do you need to do for proper self-care? If you need eight hours of sleep at night, staying up until ten might not help.
You should get into a routine so that you can constantly meet your own expectations.
Some people find chore charts, planners, and calendars helpful when setting expectations.
Others have chosen to make “contracts” with the other family members. This works well for families with young children.
They will be able to see that they have agreed to the standards and can look to tell if they have met the parent’s expectations.
Managing Expectations At Work
Expectations aren’t just for home life. In fact, when people think of meeting expectations, they often think of their workplace. Your boss has expectations for you to meet.
This can be as simple as showing up to work on time or completing monthly reports by the deadline.
If you are a manager, you will have to have a certain set of expectations for your employees.
Manager expectations can include what the dress code is, steps to request time off, or how to follow a call-out procedure. Many HR teams will set up these beginning expectations for the associates.
Again, if you run a department or are in charge of your employees, it is imperative that you manage expectations.
Communication is key to not only setting and managing expectations but for implementing them, too.
You will not be able to successfully run a department if your expectations are always changing. If you do not follow up with employees who do not meet expectations, it can hurt your team, too.
Employees who don’t consistently meet their boss’s expectations without consequences can cause a rift in the workplace.
If you find yourself with an employee that is not meeting expectations, you will want to have a personal one-on-one meeting with them.
It will help if you establish why the meeting is happening as well as ensure that they understand the expectation.
Once an employee fails to meet expectations, you will need to follow up with the consequence.
You will undermine your authority as a manager or boss if you do not follow through.
Your best bet is to follow through each and every time expectations aren’t met. That way, you aren’t “playing favorites” or singling employees out.
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Managing Expectations And Customer Service
When it comes to managing customer service, you will need to understand the customers’ expectations. If customers have a preconceived notion of what they expect, it can be hard for you to deliver.
By communicating clearly, you will be able to understand what it is that a customer wants.
Once you fully understand what a customer wants, you can manage expectations. Often times in customer service, there are a set of expectations on both sides of the counter.
Customers expect polite and courteous service. Depending on where they are or what they’re doing, they may expect the service to be speedy or laid back.
No customer wants to be rushed while at a five-star restaurant. On the other hand, they don’t want to wait long for their fast food meal, either.
By managing expectations in your establishment, you will be able to set customer expectations and meet them, too.
Managing Employee Expectations
As mentioned earlier, you have to manage your expectations for your employees. If those expectations are not met, you must have consequences.
On the other hand, if you do not take the time to relay the message, things may get difficult.
One of the best things a boss can do is to create standard operating procedures, or SOP’s, for expectations. This is like the rule chart from elementary school but made for the workplace.
Even if you have to go back and adjust the procedure or your expectations, you will want to take the time to make a good description that is easy to understand.
Your employees will also have expectations of you, like how they expect to be treated. Do they want fair wages, be considered for internal promotions, and clean and safe working conditions?
If an employee is not satisfied with how they are being treated, good employees will leave.
Mediocre and “bad” employees may find a way to make those around them miserable. Many HR departments will help departments and employees work together and find solutions if needed.
Managing Expectations In Relationships
Now that you’ve managed expectations at home and in the workplace, you should work on relationship expectations.
One way to do this is to set personal expectations, even when you think you might not need them. This is not just for couple relationships either.
You should set personal expectations for your friends and family, too. It may not feel necessary, but you can prevent your parents from showing up unannounced.
Tell your friends how long you will tolerate them standing you up when you’ve made plans.
Even the best relationships have expectations that are reasonable, well communicated, and easy to reachable. Just like with goals, if you do not set reachable expectations, everyone will fail at meeting them.
It may not always be feasible to only make last-minute plans. Some people have their calendars planned weeks or months in advance.
If you find that your family, friends, or mate are not meeting the things that you are expecting, then you might need to make adjustments. At the same time, you should not relax them too much so that you don’t get walked all over.
In a courtship or romantic relationship, you and your significant other will probably talk about the thing you want.
What do you expect from the relationship? Are you looking for something long term or casual? How often do you want to hear from your significant other?
Often times, you will communicate about these things during your first few weeks or months of courtship.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything formal, but you will learn what the other person needs from you.