In the workplace, under promise and over deliver.
By overpromising, you heighten people’s expectations to unrealistic levels, meaning that even significant accomplishments do not appear as such. However, by managing people’s expectations, you can ensure that when you do succeed at a task, your work gets the appreciation it deserves.
Here are a few tips to help manage expectations:
Take time to strategize
Before you make any promises, make sure you look ahead to determine where the roadblocks will be and how you plan to overcome them. Be honest with yourself about how long it will take to accomplish. This will affect the results you can expect to achieve and how long you expect it to take.
Also, carefully examine the urgency of the task. Work is a constant battle of priorities, so make sure your other tasks are not suffering because you have over-promised.
By strategizing, you may find ways that you can exceed the expectations you have set, either by completing the task promptly or to a higher standard.
Be honest and communicate
Keep people in the loop about the progress of your work. If a client or your boss is expecting something and you know it is not achievable within the given period, explain the situation rather than disappointing them.
It may be more pressing tasks push back your deadline. If that is the case, do not wait until you are asked for an update, contact the stakeholders and reset their expectations.
Don’t be afraid to say no
Ultimately, your boss’s projects and those of your clients will always come first. It can be very easy, especially if you like your work colleagues, to promise assistance even if you do not have time.
Having a reputation in the office for being a team player is important, but it should not come at the expense of your responsibilities. When you have to say no to people, say no and explain why you cannot take on any more responsibilities.
Ask for help
If you’re struggling to meet the expectations of your current project, don’t be afraid to go to your boss. Just make sure you are in a position to present a solution to the problem at hand.
It may be your boss agrees your solution is the best, or they may suggest something else. By keeping your boss in the loop they will know what to expect from you. However, if you don’t, they will assume you can complete the task unaided.
By managing expectations, you put yourself in the driver’s seat on any given project and ensure the work you’re doing is fully appreciated.