In every relationship, including those at work, we have expectations. We expect others to act a certain way, respond to situations the way we’d like, care about the same things we care about. If you are someone who sets the bar high for yourself, chances are you also set it high for the people you share your work and life with.

The problem is, we don’t get to control others. And seldom will they share the same filters, life experiences or goals that we do. As a result, our experience of them will rarely, if ever, equal our expectations.

The result, we can end up spending a lot of time in the gap! That gap between what we thought would happen and what did; how we thought someone would react and what they actually did; who we want someone to be and who they really are; the goals we think someone should have and what they actually aspire to be.

Left unchecked, this can cause disappointment, frustration and sometimes outright anger.

And, in many ways, our workplace relationships are no different than the other relationships in our lives. In fact, often, we spend more time with the people we share our work with.

There will be gaps. What do you do in the gap?

Do you automatically fill the gap with negative assumptions?

  • They don’t respect me;
  • They don’t care;
  • They are lazy;
  • They are stupid.

Do you fill it with positive assumptions?

  • They must be really busy;
  • Maybe I didn’t explain myself clearly;
  • They must be under the weather today;
  • One of our processes must need some tweaking.

Or, do you get in action?

Assumptions are not reality. As a leader in a workplace you have more power than you often do in your other relationships. Frustration and anger are victim emotions. Instead of feeling like there is nothing you can do, get into action!

  • Reality-check your expectations: Are you a perfectionist who bounces in to see the next thing your team has done wrong? Or, have you given someone responsibilities without providing the autonomy or resources they need to get the job done right? Sometimes our expectations do not match what’s possible. We set ourselves up for constant disappointment.
  • Check your communication: How often do you find yourself saying, “they should just know to do this! I shouldn’t have to tell them.” Well, experience suggests that you do – at least for now. Did you use a good delegation process? Did you clearly state what you wanted done by when? Did you include a specific call to action? Did you use tentative language like; “when you get around to it” or “when you get time”. Because that is a recipe for inaction.
  • Check your team members: Does each team member have the ability (knowledge, skills, and abilities) to do the work you are giving? Did you use ineffective on the job training? Have you kept people employed who do not really care about the work because you felt bad for them? Have you failed to hold team members accountable? Do you utilize a good progressive discipline process?
  • Check your goals: Do you have a clear mission and vision for your business? Do you set annual or quarterly goals that move you towards your mission? Have you shared them with your team from the heart? Have you given them the opportunity to get inspired and participate in a shared mission with you? Or, are you flying by the seat of your pants, bouncing around, giving different direction to your team every day and expecting that your business will miraculously take a direct path somewhere? 

Yes, as always, it falls back on you. You, as leader, set the tone in your organization. What you tolerate and what you get in action over helps to mold and shape the culture.

If you are sitting in frustration in the gap, what will you choose to do differently going forward? Take some action today. You have important work to do and life is too short!

If you aren’t sure how to get in action, call me! It’s what I am passionate about and what I do best. Beware though – I don’t let you whine. I’m not the shoulder to cry on. But, if you are ready to make change around your constant complaints, let’s get to it!  (586) 558.6683 or KRoss@FocusForwardCoaching.com