You can’t manage expectations unless you’ve set them. Properly setting expectations is an essential first step to successful expectations management.
When you clearly define what someone else can expect in the future, you set an expectation. Between setting an expectation and actually delivering on the expectation comes managing the expectation.
There are two critical components to managing expectations:
- – No Surprises – Reconfirm that everyone involved has a common understanding of the expected outcome. One of the greatest challenges with setting and managing expectations is language. If you set the expectation that you will complete something, make sure that your idea of “complete” matches the other person’s idea of complete.
- – Reset When Necessary – Keep expectations in line with changing circumstances. As soon as you know that the expectation you set cannot be kept, communicate the reset immediately. When you reset expectations, provide the context or the “why behind the what.”
Setting and managing expectations requires intentional focus and it reaps tremendous relational benefits. You will increase trust by demonstrating competence and character in how you make and keep your commitments.