Whose Expectations Are You Meeting?

Whose Expectations Are You Meeting?

Most people tend to live out the expectations set for them.  Based on that statement can you answer the question; whose expectations are you meeting?  Are they the expectations you have for yourself or are you meeting those set by others?  While studying I found an interesting statement from Warren Bennis.  Warren Bennis, an American scholar, organizational consultant and author is widely recognized a pioneer in the contemporary field of Leadership Studies.  Warren has written many books including Becoming a Leader and  Still Surprised:  A Memoir of a Life in Leadership.

As I read the following statement I began to think about the origin and results of our expectations on performance.  Do we rise to the level of another’s expectations?  And are we meeting the expectations of those around us even when the standard is low?  Bennis said:

In experiment after experiment, workers who thought they were doing better did better.  In one experiment, ten people were given puzzles to solve.  They were all given fictitious results.  Half were told they had done well, the other half were told they had done poorly.  They were then given a second test, and this time they all did as well as or as poorly as they were told they did on the first test.  — Warren Bennis

Co-Workers Putting Together a Puzzle

When we think about that statement we can see how this impacts all our relationships.  It can be true in both our personal and professional lives.  Many times I would tell my children when they were growing up,  “I believe in you, you can do it.”  After accomplishing a specific task with broad smiles, they would exclaim “I did it, just like you said Mom”!  How often is that scenario and others played out unconsciously as we navigate our daily lives?

I am certainly not advocating giving your family, friends or employees fictitious results.   I am saying that there is a direct correlation between expectation and performance.  What impact do you have on the performance of those in your spheres of influence?  In addition how is your performance impacted by the expectations of others?  Let’s look at 5 questions to consider in evaluating the correlation between expectation and performance:

  1. What do I really believe about myself?
  2. What steps do I take each day to build my confidence level?
  3. Who has the greatest influence on my life?
  4. What incidents in the past have shaped my expectations regarding my performance?
  5. What incidents in the past have shaped my expectations regarding others’ performance?

Carefully answering the 5  questions can help you build awareness around how you are leading others and being led.  This can also be beneficial in enhancing your confidence and overriding low expectations.  I am grateful I ran across this passage from Warren Bennis.    While I was familiar with the name, Warren Bennis, I had not really experienced his work.  I look forward to spending more time reading his books.  I think you might find his materials insightful as well.  You can visit his website for additional information.

Take Action

Do you tend to have high expectations of people or low?  You can leave your comments below or by clicking here.



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