I have a client that is a great repeat customer. I deal primarily with two different people from this organization. They are interesting in that they are very different. One will promise and promise and then put things off, be slow to respond, and generally be undependable concerning information and timing. When problems arise they are very apologetic and then promise to do what is necessary to correct the situation.
The other is very nice and always follows up and follows through. This person doesn’t make promises, but just does what is expected and then some.
Both are nice and I enjoy working with each of them. But over time I have come to have a level of expectations based on prior experience. Those expectations help me to handle situations when they arise without being surprised, disappointed or overwhelmed. I know what to expect no matter which calls and initiates a program.
You may be thinking that I would say one is a better leader than the other, but that’s not my point. But rather part of leadership is managing expectations. The one person is much easier to work with and takes less time and effort. But knowing how they each work helps me manage my stress when issues arise with the second.
Certainly expectations can cause problems if handled incorrectly, or if they color one’s ability to engage. But learning to manage expectations gives leads a definite advantage in dealing with people is a genuine, sincere manner. Managing expectation is a key to self-leadership.