What are your expectations?

expectation meter.jpgThis is more than just a rhetorical question. Expectations play a part in everything we do in life. Before we move, we have an expectation what the move will accomplish. As we eat, we expect our hunger to go away. As we read, we expect knowledge or entertainment. When we go into the store, we expect to find what we are looking for.

You had an expectation when you decided to read this article. Think about what your expectation was.

Desired outcomes are expectations, but expectations are not necessarily desired outcomes. Expectations are the stepping-stones to outcomes, the points on the line between were we are now and where we want to be.


When you expect someone else to do something, do you inspect for what you expect? Nothing more than simple follow-up, do you go and look at the work you requested someone to do? While we all want to say yes, we follow up, many managers do not. Either they do not have the time to do so, or they trust their teams to perform.

Not inspecting what you expect is a mistake.

Even when your team is competent and you trust that they can do their jobs properly, you should follow up and inspect what you expect. If they perform to your expectations, let them know how pleased you are with their performance. If there is something they could do to exceed your expectations, take the opportunity to help them improve. If they do not perform to expectations, you can work with them to get what you need.

When you trust your team to perform, inspecting their work is not a sign of mistrust; it is a sign that you care, and it offers them a chance to get feedback on their work. If the team is developing, then you must inspect their work in order to build your own trust in their ability, and to build their confidence.

Those who do not have the time to inspect assigned work are losing ground to the failures in their operations. If the manager only took the time to inspect expectations, these failures might not happen. If you do not take the time to inspect what you expect, how does your team know whether they are working to your expectations?

Worse, what kind of message does it send when you don’t inspect the work? The message it sends is, “I don’t care.” If you don’t care to see whether they are doing it right or not, then why should they care?

Superior leaders inspect for what they expect.

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