Managing Expectations

You will never get an orange juice out of a lemon! So why are you trying to get others to read your mind and know exactly what you mean when you hint for favours or even give orders?

If you think carefully I'm sure you can dig up some stories when you knew exactly what you want but couldn't quite ask for it directly. The result - you almost always get dissapointed. If you can admit it to yourself that it is your fault at least you won't ruin your relationships however if you are expecting others to read your mind when you say "I'm hungry" when in fact what you really want is that last piece of cake. I thought this was something only children do but since I've been aware of managing not just my expectations I notice this in the 'grown up' world too!

Why are we finding asking for something so difficult and instead try to hint to others?

There can be several reason:

  • Maybe your ever need was answered when you were growing up so you never learned directly (my daughter does this a lot and even though I can guess what she wants I won't do it unless she asks directly because I want her to be able to do this when she grows up)

  • Another reason could be when we don't feel we should be getting that last piece of cake, again this can be part of growing up and the way your parents reacted in similar situations. When I was growing up we weren't allowed to help ourselves to nibbles before the visitors let alone take the last bit of cake if the visitors were still around (saying that there was always enough cake)

  • Maybe you feel it's social unacceptable to have your needs met or that you don't deserve it which can be due to low self esteem/confidence


Guess work is tiring. Not just for you but for people having to guess. It can be painful and upsetting if you don't get your needs met and even if you're the one having to do the guess work.


If you're a manager you cannot expect your employees to know what you mean or what is expected of them. Every employee is different with different backgrounds, experience, opinion, motivation and approach to work. Your job as a leader is to get out the best of your employees. Treat them as individuals but at the same time play their collective strengths to your advantage.

In a relationship - be it romantic or family/friends - not communicating clearly is never going to get you what you want. No matter how long you've known the other person.


So how do you do it?

Start with something small. Even if it's just saying yes to what you really want or no to something you don't want. ( I run a mini workshop on Building Healthy Boundaries - Tuesday Morning or Thursday Brunch - check out upcoming topics). Starting small will help you realise how much easier it is if you just say what you want (don't want). It doesn't mean you'll always get what you want if you ask directly but you have a much higher chance of getting it this way. As scary as it sounds. Trust me, I never used to be able to say what I wanted. I guess it goes hand in hand with valuing yourself and knowing that you have every right to ask (yet still accepting you might not always get).

I can't tell you how much easier my life is and how many potential arguments I've avoided once I learned that I have as much right to ask as anyone else. You'd be surprised that people won't batter and eyelid and if possible will give you what you want/need. Making it a lot easier to communicate and co-exist - at work and at home.

So go out there and try it out. Start small and build your confidence.

And if you're a manager struggling to get people to do what you want them to do than get in touch and we can have a word about how I can help you to deal with people.


#peopleskills #personaldevelopment #softskills #managementddevelopment #leadershipdevelopment #employeerelations #interpersonalskills #relationships


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