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I had a meeting that I wasn’t exactly looking forward to. I had met with the individual multiple times and each meeting went a certain way. My logical mind should’ve set the stage for what to expect, right? Well, you would certainly think so, but guess what? I just KNEW this meeting was going to be different. THIS time it would go a different way. THIS time the individual was going to completely appreciate the effort I had put into the research and information.


It went exactly how I should have expected it to go. So, who’s to blame? Should I feel defeated walking out of the meeting? I did everything that was expected of me, which is the only thing I can control. To expect others to respond how YOU want them to respond is unrealistic, right? I’m not so sure…

What leader wants anyone on their team walking away feeling deflated or defeated? The strong leaders certainly don’t! Here’s the question. Do you know what your ____ (fill in the blank) expects from you? If you don’t, you may fail big time.

Today’s employees seek meaningful experiences that make work life more comfortable and satisfying. When employee expectations are met, they have a satisfying work experience. What can leaders control? Positive work culture, recognition of a job well done, work-life balance, respect and trust, authenticity, transparency, feedback and feed-forward.

When I coach individuals, we talk through this type of scenario. Expectations aren’t just meant to be met by the outside world. Each of us sets our own expectations, so let’s be sure they’re realistic. It’s good to be optimistic, but it’s important to recognize that optimism doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome.

You can’t control every situation in life. When your expectations fall in areas outside your control, you may end up facing some disappointment. Be realistic and know that you ultimately can’t control anyone else’s choices or needs. You can control YOUR response, YOUR choices, and YOUR needs.

Here’s my final thought on expectations. Friend or enemy? Both.

When not done well, expectations are an enemy of meaningful experiences. When done well, expectations forge a path to success. Make it a priority. Make them clear for yourself. Make them clear for others.

Would you benefit from coaching on expectation setting? Reach out to Purple Ink to learn how we can work with you on making your expectations realistic and clear.

Kim Dinwiddie
Kim Dinwiddie
Kim is the Vice President of Coaching and Consulting Services at Purple Ink. Her passion is providing HR solutions to clients by helping them build their HR infrastructure through technology, compliance, and people.

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