Managing expectations is one of the most important ways you can develop structure and boundaries at work. Knowing your skills, talents, and goals will help you establish guidelines for how you’ll interact with coworkers and leadership, pursue projects and the trajectory of your career.

As a team member you don’t want to be taken advantage of or over-worked to the point that you’re burned out. As a manager, you don’t want projects to go undone or have you team not rising to the occasion. So, what can be done?

Establish healthy relationships: As a leader, work to know your employees. As a team member, let your associates and managers know of your strengths, skills, and talents. See where you can elevate your skills, while also learning and stretching developmentally. If your compensation increases or advancements are based on job performance and productivity, you need to be aware of these factors as you align and set your personal expectations. 

Communicate: If you’re at max capacity, don’t feel pressured to say “yes” to every project. Allow yourself the opportunity to say “no” and/or coordinate with the team to reassign tasks or adjust deadlines. Part of setting and managing expectations means collaborating with your team and offering and receiving feedback. Having clear and defined expectations eliminates ambiguity and confusion which can lead to undue anxiety and prevents time loss. If you’re unsure of an expectation, ask clarifying questions. Determine if the task is urgent, important or both. Then allow yourself to adjust your priorities accordingly.

Create accountability: As a team member, you can set specific expectations of yourself for the level of work you will complete and the standards you expect from others. By communicating with coworkers, you can include outlining assignments and timeframes for when tasks need to be completed. Then you can come together and report on project status and if additional help or resources are required.

Prioritize mental health: Burnout and dissatisfaction can influence your productivity and quality of work. Know what your team and managers expect from you and find ways to reduce stress and set firm boundaries when you can’t take on more projects. As a leader, be mindful and aware of the responsibilities your employees have. Incentivize healthy behaviors and habits.

Set realistic goals: As you plan goals for yourself in your career, remember that it takes many small steps over time. Set timelines, realistic, measurable, and attainable goals that you can check into frequently to make sure you’re on track. As you set goals you can align your expectations with your skill set and identify achievable project milestones.

There will come a time when you might have to deal with unrealistic expectations either from a manager or coworker. Learning these skills can be invaluable as you develop in your career. If you feel that you need additional coaching and resources for communication, conflict resolution and team building, DiSC can be a great asset for your team. Call and speak to one of our DiSC reps and they’ll be able to determine which DiSC product will be right for you.