What can I do to better manage the expectations from my boss and team?

By Bryan Chuang
OD Partner
bryanchuang@pace-od.com

If you work in a team, you most likely have to manage expectations coming from both your co-workers and your boss, whether it be about the way you will deliver on your promises, ensure deadlines are met, or achieve a certain quality of work. Having to manage expectations such as these are almost a daily routine in everyone’s professional life. I’ve personally found the following tips useful in managing expectations that we often face on a daily basis, and I believe they will benefit you too.

Don’t Over Promise

TA promise is a promise, so don’t over promise on what you can’t deliver. Most people tend to over promise when they are under pressure or asked to do a specific task by their bosses. If you’re unable to complete a task by the end of the week, don’t promise your boss that you’ll send him/her an email by mid-week. Failing to deliver on that promise would result in the loss of trust and credibility. 

Address Assumptions

The assumptions or false expectations that others might have of you must be addressed immediately. Don’t bask in compliments from your boss or co-workers over work you did not do. It’s more than a matter of integrity, for they might request that you deliver on a similar or more challenging task in the future, when in the first place, you may not even have had the right competencies! In the end, you’ll end up compromising both your organisation’s performance as well as your personal reputation, ultimately affecting the confidence that others have in you.

Expectations that are wildly unrealistic also put unnecessary pressure on you. You need to voice your reservations as soon as possible. Have a conversation to address those expectations, and get clarity on what exactly your role is in fulfilling them.

Discuss What Resources You’ll Need

When unrealistic expectations are placed upon us by our bosses or more senior colleagues, it can be tricky trying to tell them that what they’re asking of you falls downright outside of your ability to successfully accomplish. In such situations, it can be helpful to shift the focus of the discussion to identifying the resources you’ll need to reach those expectations. This serves to give your superiors a clearer perspective on the scope of what they’re asking of you, and in a way, helps them to manage their own expectations.

What has worked for you in managing expectations at the workplace? I’d love to hear from you at connect@pace-od.com!