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Do you ever have a conversation where someone asks you to do something, you appear to understand, you perform the task and feedback is not at all what the other person was expecting?

For those of you who immediately answered “never”, share your secrets with the rest of us!

Understanding expectations can sometimes be difficult.   All the information is not necessarily shared.   You do not ask enough questions and you may make some presumptions along the way.

A good practice is to repeat the request in your own words.   Follow up with a summary of the discussion with action items.   More times than not, someone will miss something either at the time of discussion or in their summary.  This helps to set and understand each others expectations.

When an expectation is not realistic, it is up to the other person to acknowledge this and to help set a realistic expectation.   Effective communication is key here.   In some cases, the demand will be to meet the expectation while in most cases you can both reach a more realistic one.

What are you doing to set and understand expectations?

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