A group of us recently had a discussion about expectations. There can be many ways to look at expectation. If it is something tangible, like expecting your paycheck, it is pretty much assumed to happen. More interesting are our expectations of others, ourselves and life itself. When you have an expectation that others will behave in a certain way, whose expectation is it? It is yours, of course. If you have not related the expectation clearly to the other person you may be sadly disappointed when they do not meet it! Yet in reality you let yourself down. Even when the expectation is verbalized or written, if the other person has not agreed to it you can be quickly let down. Let’s look at this in several scenarios.

1. The work place. Has the leader made clear what the expectations are? Have the employees agreed to meet these expectations? What if the leader’s expectation is for respect? The employee has a job description and meets the terms of it with flying colors. Respect is not in the job description–it is an unwritten expectation that the employee may or may not buy into. It is possible that performance dictates the situation of continued employment yet respect will not be forth coming. Do you have grounds to terminate this type of employee? This can get pretty sticky.

2. The family situation. Parents expect their children to behave in a certain way. Do they? Even when the expectations are clear many children will not meet the expectations because the expectations are not theirs. Behavior in young children often does not meet the expectations of the parent. The pace of learning the parent expects disappoints them because the child has a different drummer and learns in at a different pace. Children have expectations of parents but are they commonly verbalized? Is everyone on the same page? And parents have expectations of each other. Have these been discussed and agreed to or are they expected to read each other’s minds? This paragraph could go on for a long time!

3. Education and school. Teachers have a lot of pressure on them to teach the children well. The school system has a model to teach with and behavior expectations of the students. Yet there are four temperaments of people in this world and this shows up at a very early age. If the teaching style and its expectations do not match that of the learning style of the student a great deal of frustration can ensue. There is no right or wrong here–just differences among us. This can also work the other way. If parent and teacher expectations are for poor performance it is likely those expectations will be met.

4. Self-expectations. Sometimes we even set expectations for how we will do personally–diet, exercise, work performance and the like–that either we cannot meet or we set too low. Putting the bar too high over and over tells the subconscious mind that we might as well not even try–again. Setting it too low keeps us stuck and with no room for growth. Also, expecting ourselves to behave differently than our temperament nature has us wired for can lead to a lot of internal frustration and personal let-downs.

There is so much more that could be included here that I invite you to discuss the topic among your friends, family and co-workers.

Written by Coach Judi Harris, Certified Administrator or the Keirsey Temperament Sorter

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