If you are a business owner or manager, I’m sure this title caught your attention. You did read it correctly; your expectations of your employees is causing problems in your business. You may be thinking, “What kind of angle is this? If anything, I don’t expect ENOUGH from my employees. In fact, some of them only scrape by on bare minimum activity and try their hardest to get out of even doing that!”
The problem IS expectation. Steve Chandler in his book Shift Your Mind says it this way: “So people don’t live up to your expectations! Well, that’s no fun. You’re disappointed. Sometimes you’re even feeling betrayed if it was a serious expectation. The other thing that can happen is that they do live up to it! Well, then you’re just neutral – nothing special - you EXPECTED it. So you say, “Daisy showed up to the meeting on time,” you think, “but that’s what I expected, so what?” You either have “so what?” which is a life of boring nothingness, or you will have a life filled with disappointment. Those are your two choices.”
There is a better way to approach the issue of workplace accountability. First, as the leader, you must take ownership for the results of your company or department. Quit blaming your employees for mediocre results and accept the truth that your leadership has brought your team to their present level of performance. Second, drop all expectations. Expectations are nothing more than wishes and desires. They are assumptions that carry the illusion of effective communication. Finally, learn how to replace expectations with created agreements.
To replace an expectation with an agreement, you must begin by understanding your employee and what they really want. Start the process of creating an agreement by asking questions and listening with the goal to understand what the employee wants as well as their current expectation. It is impossible to create effective agreements without first understanding how the everyone thinks and what they want. When you ask them to tell you what they want and what would be ideal, it opens the door to creating wonderful, great agreements that will inspire and motivate them to be the best they can be.
Sometimes business owners and managers are afraid to ask employees what they REALLY want. What if they can’t provide what they want? Think about it. They want what they want whether you know about it or not. You are in a better position to create a better situation for them if you know what they really want. Once you know what they want, it opens the possibility to create agreements and get commitment based on mutual understanding. They may be willing to help you get to the place that you can give them what they want. Once you understand them, they will be much more open to listen and understand what you want from them as well. Once you find agreement and establish a plan based on honest and open communication, then there is no more need for dysfunctional expectation. Human beings love to keep their agreements and resent trying to live up to expectations.
So here’s your challenge; Identify your current expectations of your team, and then sit down with each member and replace those expectations with created agreements based on mutual listening and understanding! Business and life will become fun again!