Many of us give the very best of who we are every day, yet all too often struggle to feel like our best is good enough. Understanding and at times challenging our own expectations and perception of others’ expectations is key to identifying and transforming unrealistic expectations that compromise our ability to approach others with compassion and extend that compassion to ourselves. In this section, we identify the expectations we have for ourselves and for others and question whether these expectations are helpful for us or holding us back.
Clarifying Expectations (20-45 minutes)
The purpose of this activity is to examine whether our individual expectations are aligned with collective understanding.
Core Content Visual
Expectations Discussion Prompts – Use this Visual and Display in Staff Break Areas
Posting this visual in common staff areas will serve as a reminder of content covered to staff and perhaps serve as a future conversation started for deeper reflection among staff members.
Setting Helpful Expectations (20-30 minutes)
Many times, our expectations do not align with our own wants, needs, and values, but rather, represent things that are socially expected of us or things we are conditioned to believe. This exercise helps us set intentional expectations that are rooted in our values.
Links Specifically for Leadership
The recommended activities provide ways to make workplace expectations more transparent and encourage healthy expectations among staff.
- Provide staff with access to Caregivers’ Bills of Rights (1. Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project and 2. aPlaceforMom) which provides affirmations that help combat negative self-talk and expectations; bonus point for creating your own version with staff. Here are two examples from workplace and family perspectives:
- Read the following article entitled “How to communicate employee expectations effectively” and after doing so, answer the following questions:
— What efforts can you undertake to encourage regular and ongoing conversations with staff regarding expectations?
— How can you more clearly communicate expectations to staff?
— How can you affirm what you, others, or your team are doing well to meet expectations?
— How might you encourage mentoring relationships and collaborative relationships among staff at your school?
To find out more about the negative consequences of “shoulding” on ourselves (and how to avoid doing so), check out this resource from the author of “The Positively Present Guide to Life.”
Handout with Tips for Clarifying an Expectation Concern
Assists staff in clarifying the what, why and how of an expectation across different levels of positional power.