If I asked you what are the greatest gifts you can give to someone, the list would probably not include this one: managing expectations…and yet it is definitely one of the greatest gifts we can give to anybody.
When you manage expectations of others, you do several critical things for them:
- It reveals who you are to them.
- It lets them know what you are going to do.
- It lets them know when it will be done.
- It lets them know what the outcome will look like.
- It gives them a sense of peace and purpose.
That is a pretty nice gift to give anyone, don’t you think? The beauty is, it cost you nothing to give…just some effort. And yet, how often do we find ourselves disillusioned with someone because they did not communicate properly? Just this week I had three girls that I teach that were all in tears because their parents had assured them that they would be at the graduation ceremony for them…and then no showed. I gave them a group hug and told them that I was going to be their family that day. While I was glad that I was there for them, what an opportunity the parents missed. Those scars will not easily be healed in their tender hearts.
Whether you are a CEO, Manager, Principal, Teacher, Salesman, Mom, Dad, or just a Human Being, learn the art of managing expectations. I know that life throws curve balls from time to time and adjustments have to be made accordingly. Just communicate before the 11th hour what is happening and don’t make it a habit. When it becomes habitual, you lose all credibility. In the case of the three girls I mentioned above, a call to the school could have been made to soften the blow and then explain what happened to them in detail later, but that did not happen…obviously.
When it comes to children, we have a sacred responsibility to communicate fully with them. If we don’t, the outcomes are not going to be good for anyone. You can take that to the bank. If you don’t manage expectations, you reap the results of hurt feelings, anger, broken relationships, and chaos. Does anyone want that? Care enough to communicate.