Poor Behavior 11: Unrealistic Expectations

Conflicts of Interest Blog by Vivian Scott

Impracticable approaches to projects and tasks have certainly been the topic of many a gripe session between employees. The conversation often begins with one of them busting out with, “He’s never even done this job before,” and the other person responding with, “Really! What does he know?!” Having unrealistic expectations with your staff, boss, or coworkers can easily place you in the center of such a conflict.

If you’re experiencing push-back about your expectations, try a new approach. Learn more about what’s involved in a process so you can break down the steps and then discuss the specific points that are causing the disagreements rather than getting into a back-and-forth about the entire project. If you’re not comfortable starting from ground zero, let others tell you what is possible and negotiate from there.

If you feel a coworker or boss is asking you to do too much with too little, spend time planning (and practicing) how you’ll communicate your concerns without sounding like you’re whining or trying to get out of doing work. Providing solutions that include prioritizing are always a good thing. If you’re suggesting something should go to the compost pile, talk about both the downside and the upside for letting it go so you present yourself as seeing the big picture—not just advocating for your side. And, of course, if there’s a better, smarter way to accomplish a task, be sure to share your ideas as neutral as possible.

There’s an old saying in business that says you can have things fast, good, and affordable. Problem is, the best you can usually do is two out of three so decide which two are most important to you and go forward from there. Fast and affordable may not be good; and fast and good will probably cost you more than you’d like to pay. Expecting all three each and every time may be, well, unrealistic.

                        author

Vivian Scott

Vivian Scott is a Professional Certified Mediator and the author of Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies.  She spent many years in the competitive and often stress-filled world of high tech marketing where she realized resolving conflict within the confines of office politics was paramount to success.  Through creative solutions… MORE >

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