There are people who believe having no expectations is the key to happiness. This may not be true as expectation is a form of target. We always have expectations, whether we realize it or not.
When they are not met, someone somewhere is disappointed, irritated or angry. In our relationships, business and organizations, expectations raise the bar and increase productivity. Reputation is everything in business and the more you can manage expectations the more you achieve customer satisfaction.
The first step to managing expectations is to be sure you get the context. What exactly is required of you? Every single detail is important and so you have to ask questions until you are sure of what is actually expected.
Discuss what is expected at every point. This is the appropriate time to commit to what will be delivered, how it will be delivered and when it will be delivered. Your colleague might have a different understanding of the same situation or project, so discuss it to be on the same page and that’s how success will be measured.
Note: Once there is miscommunication, expectations won’t be met.
Communication is the backbone of every business. Your stakeholders have to be contacted on a frequent basis. In the early stages of a new project or as milestones or deadlines approach, you have to keep communicating.
Even in extreme cases where you foresee expectations won’t be met, you have to communicate, state clearly the new plan and reach an agreement. For example, if there would be a delay in delivering a particular task, managing expectations professionally would be to communicate ahead of time with honest reasons this is unavoidable and a plan B. Also ensure transparency in your communication.
Ask for more time if possible
Expectations should be realistic and achievable. If you perceive otherwise, then this should be up for discussion. You can ask to extend the timeline if you can present your case believably and convincingly.
This part is one of the most important aspects of expectation management, so if you can nail this, you are good to go.