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February 6, 2020

Managing Expectations at Work

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Today I wanted to share a communication technique I learned from Bill Sanders, that was brought to my attention again by Darren Hardy. It is a way to manage expectations at work, and it is brilliant.

Maybe it’s best viewed in the lens of an example. Your boss swings by your desk and tells you that you need to work on project A. “Hey Brian, just got word from up top we need to get this done ASAP. Can you do that?”.

You can’t say no right? Well, you don’t have to!

“Absolutely, I am more than happy to get that done. I am currently working on Project B and Project C, which one of those would you like this to take priority over?”

Essentially, what just happened in this conversation I had with myself, is that you were supportive of the work added to your plate, respectful of its urgency, and then subtly communicated that there is a cost associated with getting it done that you want them to make the decision on. It’s a way you can stand up for yourself without standing out.   

What you did is you addressed the real factors built into the task, which are ability and time, saying that you by all means have the ability to get it done, and can make the time if they deem it priority over your other tasks.

So, when you feel like you’re being stretched a little thin, and something gets added to your plate, you now have a way of enthusiastically taking the project on while standing up for yourself and your time.

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