How to Choose Expectations that Produce Positive Results

“Our expectations about others are directly related to our ability to lead and influence them.” Jeannette Seibly

As bosses and leaders, we all have expectations that positively support our ability to be influential leaders. Conversely, limiting or negative expectations about others (e.g., how they “should” behave, talk, and do their work) hurts our ability to influence change and produce intended results!

Our ideas about the way the world works are based, in part, upon our expectations. These expectations color our experience – for good or ill – and can influence our reactions and responses to just about everything and everyone that we encounter. (

How do we choose our expectations to make a positive difference with our teams, customers, and results?

Take Responsibility for Your Expectations

  1. Be Present. When in conversations, set aside preconceived ideas or expectations of how others should speak or behave during conversations. Set aside distractions. Listen with an open mind. Remember, mastery requires consistent practice.
  2. Set Aside “Shoulds.” Biases and judgments can significantly impact your effectiveness as a boss/leader, whether positive or negative. Setting these aside can be incredibly difficult to overcome without the right coaching, training, and reminders. It’s important to remember that you operate in a world and work in a company where you are expected to judge and evaluate people’s performance and their impact on others. However, it’s crucial to base these judgments on objective data, not their personalities!
  3. Be Objective. Telling the truth and using factual information is essential. Adjust your expectations to do the right thing correctly (e.g., provide feedback with empathy and compassion), and do not excuse destructive or disruptive behaviors, poor quality, or missed deadlines. Set an expectation of high quality and ensure that efforts are rewarded.
  4. Stop Labeling Others. When you affix labels to people (e.g., narcissists, difficult people), it’s often due to being upset with a conversation you had with them or a decision they made. Your team members will follow your lead. Your frustrations can create microaggressions and a hostile and harmful workplace culture. Choose an expectation that everyone works well with others to ensure you are managing for a safe workplace!
  5. Avoid Making Decisions for Others. The expectation of knowing what is best for team members will get in the way of being effective. Instead, ask first. Then, decide what is best for a person (e.g., job promotion, job transfer, change of work responsibilities), company, work team, and customer. Since team members will say “yes” to new work opportunities – but fail to understand what is expected of them to succeed — use a qualified job fit assessment to ensure no surprises for you or them!
  6. Dial Up Your Humbleness and Dial Down Your Ego. Your false sense of power (e.g., job title) will influence your expectations of others and how they “should” listen and speak to you. Your ego will naturally think of yourself as superior (your ideas are the only right ones) and create a false belief that people should listen and do as you say! These expectations will limit others’ willingness to work for you, increase workplace stress, and hurt results. Keep your ego in check!
  7. Know You Will Be Disappointed. You will be disappointed when you pin your happiness and success on fulfilling unrealistic expectations. Set realistic goals for yourself and others. Celebrate the small steps! Create brags for all accomplishments (yours and others), whether large or small.
  8. Accelerate Achieving Positive Results. Hire an executive coach who can guide you through the inevitable difficulties you will experience in working relationships and completing a project. You will become more respectful by becoming more realistic and accepting of others. Adjust your expectations of yourself and others by using mistakes and failures as opportunities to learn and grow.

©Jeannette Seibly 2024 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is a Talent Advisor/Leadership Results Coach with over 31 years of practical experience guiding leaders and bosses to improve their hiring, coaching, and managing practices and produce amazing results! And yes, achieving business success always starts with having the right people in the right jobs! She has been an Authorized PXT Select® Partner for over 32 years. Contact Jeannette to learn more about these state-of-the-art job-fit assessment tools or how to coach and manage your people to achieve incredible results.

Note from Jeannette: The expectations we choose for ourselves and others can positively or negatively affect our results, relationships, and work quality. Do you need help adjusting and choosing your expectations to achieve your goals, improve your results, and improve working relationships? Let’s talk now—before it’s too late. Contact me!

Now is the time to get into focused action! Are there days you dread doing what is needed to manage your people, projects, and team’s financial performance? You’re not alone! Everyone has those days! But continuing to hide behind excuses only hurts you and your future promotability. I have extensive experience and wisdom guiding bosses and leaders to hire, coach, and manage their teams successfully – this includes getting you out of the way and working with and through people effectively to achieve the results required. Contact me to learn more about my in-depth, one-on-one, customized coaching programs.

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