Five Expectations That Can Trigger An Emotional Response

Everyone has expectations, both at work and in their personal lives. Learning how to manage those expectations can help you better relate to others, reduce your stress and improve your overall well-being. If you’re unhappy about something, author John R. Stoker says there’s a good chance it’s because an expectation was unmet.

When you’re at work, those unmet expectations may look like a colleague interrupting you in a conversation or your boss allowing a meeting to run well past the allotted time. You expect to speak without someone cutting you off, and you expect for meetings to adhere to their defined timeframe. When these things don’t happen, your emotions may flare.

Do you tend to feel triggered by the same things at work? You may have expectations that you haven’t clearly communicated. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we outline six expectations that Stoker says can lead to volatile emotional reactions.

1. The expectation that people know what you want. People can’t read your mind. You need to be clear about your requests so others know your desired outcome, says Stoker. Maybe you assumed your colleagues already knew something. Or maybe you didn’t allow time for them to ask questions. Consider these areas to ensure you are conveying your message clearly.

2. The expectation that people will perform the way that you would perform. Stoker says many people perform according to their own expectations—not yours. This is especially true if your expectations are unclear, or if the other person felt the bar was too high. Sometimes, people think their way of working is more efficient or they may have a different work ethic.

3. The expectation that everyone understands priorities. When you work on a team, everyone’s work is interrelated. If someone is late delivering their portion of a project or they incorrectly complete a task, it can throw off the entire team. It’s important to regularly discuss priorities and how your team manages them, says Stoker. This can keep everyone on the same page and eliminate confusion on what deserves the most attention.

4. The expectation that people will speak up. Even if you try to create an open and communicative culture, your team members may not be forthcoming with struggles. If you buy into the old saying, “no news is good news,” be prepared to be disappointed, says Stoker. Leaders should always check in with their employees to discern what’s working—and what’s not.

5. The expectation that others know the importance of their work. There’s a good chance your team members don’t understand how they help make your company successful. Stoker points out that everyone wants a sense of purpose and to know that their work matters. Make sure you clearly communicate your team’s mission and show appreciation to those who work toward that mission every day.

Maybe you expect people to know what’s bothering you. Or, maybe you think it should go without saying that you appreciate your colleagues. These expectations may seem rational to you, but you may end up only frustrated. Instead of letting your emotions get the best of you, identify your expectations and be clear about them with others.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: John R. Stoker is the author of Overcoming Fake Talk and the president of DialogueWORKS, Inc. He is an expert in the fields of leadership, change, dialogue, critical thinking, conflict resolution and emotional intelligence.

filed under September 2021
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