Problems tend to arise when we don’t clearly align the expectations of others. Such problems can be avoided if we are able to foresee situations going bad and tell the other person what to expect. Usually wrong assumptions take place in the communication error. This can go both ways, we can align someone else’s expectations as well as someone else can align our expectations. It is our job to make sure our expectations are aligned as well as others. It is foolish to think everyone will do a good job at this so it is our responsibility to take control.
- Think of something you’ve told someone. Is there something that you left out? Is there something that they don’t know that might make it clearer for them?
- Think of something you’re doing with someone. Some parts of it is not clear. Ask them to align your expectations of that thing.
- What is something you did today? What parties might be effected of the process, result? Let them know.
Example-1 -> Aligning others expectation
Situation: While inviting guests over assuming they like the same food that we like has a % chance of creating conflict.
Communication: Hey guys, I’m going to cook X, Y, Z let me know if you’re not okay with it.
Example-2 -> Aligning others expectation
Situation: Going to the spa with friend. One friend might think it’s an opportunity to relax in peace without talking. The other might see it as a chat opportunity.
Communication: Btw I feel like just relaxing & meditating today so I will mostly sit alone and close my eyes in spa.
Example-3 -> Aligning others expectation
Situation: New hire doesn’t know when he will meet the rest of the team and how the onboarding process will go.
Communication: Hey, over the next 2 weeks I will set up calls occasionally introducing you to different team members. The days aren’t clear but probably Tuesday or Wednesday nights will work. Until then you can continue the work with me & Sam. You’ll slowly start working with others after 1 month.
Example-4 -> Others aligning our expectation
Situation: I’m waiting for someone to do a certain thing so I can make a decision.
Communication: Hey, can you align my expectations on when you’ll do this. Can you give me a range, best case & worst case eta.
Example-5 -> Others aligning our expectation
Situation: I don’t know how many people are coming so I don’t know how much food I should prepare
Communication: Hey, can you give me a pax estimate so I can prepare food accordingly?
Example-6 -> Others aligning our expectation
Situation: Someone wants something completed. But I don’t know its urgency so I’m not sure if I should prioritize it.
Communication: Hey, can you tell me how urgent this is? I have these 3 tasks, A will take 5 hours, B will take 25, C will take 15. Would B>C>A work for you?
As can be seen from this one, I’m also aligning the time expectation of each task while requesting prioritization.