Do you ever feel like managing priorities and competing demands is leaving you stressed, frustrated and worn out?
You’re not alone. These same things were causing Tim – a client of mine – grief. However, they weren’t the problem – managing expectations was. In Tim’s case, his boss was a workaholic and Tim felt under pressure with too many demands, too little resources and time. Something had to give.
Managing expectations underpins quality of relationships you have with your boss and your team.
Given the complexity and pace of work today, managing expectations can’t be an underutilised skill in your toolkit. Yet, our need to please others, to do the right thing, and to achieve and feel valued often overrides our ability to say no and to have the tough conversations. Sound familiar?
Managing expectations is about aligning, organising, and leading through communication – in a way that gives you the clarity and confidence you need to succeed.
Use these 3 success principles and questions to effectively manage expectations between you and your boss:
1. Be clear:
- What is expected of you? What change you are expected to lead?
- Are your priorities and focus aligned with those expectations?
- How will your performance be measured? What does success look like for your key objectives? What would an outstanding, knock-it-out-of-the-park result look like?
2. Communicate – it goes both ways:
- What are the expectations of how and when you’ll communicate with your boss?
- What direction / support do you need and how can your boss best give that to you? Does your boss know what you need? What do you need from each other?
3. Be confident:
- Are the expectations your boss has of you and your deliverables realistic? What concerns do you have? Do you need to push back and negotiate, for example, balancing organisational needs vs team abilities?
- Do you need to realign on your objectives or reassess timeframes, resources or something else? Or have contingencies in place?
Bringing it all together
Managing expectations is the starting point for an effective relationship with your boss. Done well, managing expectations requires being honest, transparent and vulnerable, so that you can align in a way that is ecological – good for you, good for your team, and good for the organisation.
No one wins when you’re frustrated and stressed. What’s more, you can’t expect your boss to read your mind and know how you’re thinking and feeling. Although the conversations might be tough – they are a necessary part of your job. Be positive and go for it.