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Taylor Burton Sep 14, 2022 10:53:26 AM 3 min read

Managing Expectations


If you're the head of a firm or a team, you may be wondering how to get the most out of your employees without driving them too hard. You don't want to be taken advantage of, but you don't want to create a toxic work environment either. Unrealistic expectations can lead to low morale, bitter feelings, missed deadlines, and higher turnover.

Striking that balance all comes down to you. The most important thing you can do is to establish expectations early on, both for yourself and for your employees. People aren't the only thing you should be managing; it's vital to manage your expectations as well. Read on to discover the crucial leadership skill of managing expectations, respecting others, and fostering a healthier work environment.


team of successful business people having a meeting in executive sunlit office


Be Realistic. This is the first step! You must have a realistic grasp of everyone's capabilities to avoid disappointment or miscommunication. You may be tempted to shoot for the moon, but you need to keep your feet grounded on earth. Understand what your team is capable of. Don't set impossible deadlines that mean longer hours for everyone. We all lead lives outside of work. Keeping that work-life balance is vital and can actually lead to more productivity from workers in the grand scheme of things.


Healthy Communication (without Assumption). Another important pillar is keeping the lines of communication wide open. Never make assumptions as they are a breeding ground for unrealistic expectations. Communicate your needs early on to avoid any problems down the line. Have an employee handbook with everything they need to know and do not be afraid to issue the occasional reminder.

Your team should also feel comfortable approaching you with any problems they may have. Collaborate with them. Make feedback a give-and-take. Encourage questions and brainstorm solutions together. Communication goes a very long way when it comes to sharing your expectations and reaching your goals.


Creative business team putting hands together at the office


Nobody's Perfect. This phrase has echoed throughout society for years because it's pure truth. It's healthy to acknowledge this, keep an open mind, and leave some room for mistakes. 

However, some may use it as an excuse to shake off accountability. Accountability is a key part in holding to your expectations. Do not be afraid to push back if too many mistakes are made. You cannot compromise your organization's needs or the quality of your brand any more than you can compromise the mental health of your workers. It is all a delicate balancing act in which you must rely on your own judgment.


Failure is a Learning Opportunity. Building on that, even the most dismal failures can be valuable tools in building experience. Reflect on what went wrong and what actions you can take to correct the situation, or ensure that it never happens again. Total failure only occurs when you give up completely. Keep striving towards your goals with all of the knowledge you've gained along the way.


frustrated young business man working on laptop computer at office


Expect the Unexpected. Not everything always goes according to plan. Anticipate the different outcomes you may encounter on your path to success. Time spent preparing for the worst outcome may prove beneficial.

Sometimes, it's completely out of your control. No matter how much we might wish to, we can't control every situation that comes our way. Letting go is something we must come to grips with. Stressing over a situation you have zero control over is pointless. The best thing you can do in grave circumstances is take care of yourself--that's something you always have control over. Drink water, eat well, and know that this too shall pass.


businesswoman standing in front of the huge circle gate


The reality is we often set expectations or imagine scenarios in our head where everything goes according to plan, but life just isn't like that. If you put effort into managing your expectations and keeping them realistic, you can avoid negative feelings such as disappointment and construct a healthier outlook on life for both yourself and your peers.