I take my work very seriously. I take pride in what I do and want to do the very best I can. If there is a portion of my job I’m not good at I want to do what I can to improve my skillset in that area. A portion of my job is to supervise. I have supervised in the past, and have acted as a mentor and advanced resource to my colleagues in other positions, but being a supervisor is something I haven’t had a lot of formal training in, so since my place of employment offers courses in the subject I’ve been taking as many training sessions as I can.
One common theme is emerging: Setting expectations.
If I expect something of you and you don’t deliver what I expected, but I never told you that I had that expectation, then is it fair of me to be mad at you when you fail in my eyes?
Our feelings are fair to have, but if you don’t set someone up for success then chances are they will inadvertently fail you.
A scenario, if you will: I expect you to pick up a loaf of bread on the way home, because this morning I was making sandwiches for your lunch and ended up using the last of the bread. You see in your lunch that one of your sandwiches is a crust sandwich (the sandwich using the beginning and end pieces of the loaf). But I never explicitly asked you to get that loaf of bread. I’m perfectly capable of getting that loaf of bread myself and I didn’t specifically mention that I used the last of the bread on your sandwiches today. You come home from work after a long day, expecting that I will make you sandwiches for the next day, but you didn’t bring home any bread.
Murky double-fault/no-fault/depends who you ask situation there.
Excuses I could come up with to blame you for this situation: I make the sandwiches so why should I have to buy the bread? I make the sandwiches with double-crust to signal it’s the end of the loaf, so why should I have to say anything? You’re a mind reader and you know when I am throwing away the bread wrapper that I don’t already have a second loaf of bread in the kitchen, even though you know I’ve been to the store at least three times this week because I brought home other groceries three different days this week.
I think you get the point of how assuming without setting expectations up front can lead to a lot of ridiculously stupid assumptions on the other end of something as simple as sandwiches for lunch.
I’m just curious where you are in the Expectations cycle. Are you still expecting without communicating your expectations? Or have you figured out that the secret to successful communication is to clearly state your expectations, make sure the person on the other end of those expectations is willing to agree to those expectations, and you both follow through with your part of the expectations?