Aleta Maxwell

Setting Expectations for Yourself

Expectations. We all have them whether we want to admit to it or not. We have them for ourselves, and we have them for other people in our lives.

These expectations show up at work.


This is a great time to evaluate your expectations. If you aren’t aware of your own expectations, no time like the present to become aware of the expectations you are placing on yourself and those around you and adjust, communicate, and streamline them to work for you instead of against you.


When we aren’t aware of and evaluate, communicate, and strategize with our expectations in mind…there tends to be a lot of disappointment, confusion and anger that arises.
This can even be towards ourselves and can feel like failure, guilt, laziness, and basic disappointment in ourselves. Sometimes we don’t connect these feelings to a subconscious unmet expectation.



Start with what expectations you have set for yourself


Are you meeting them? Do they serve you in this season of your life?


If your answer is a ‘yes’ to wanting to keep them but a ‘no’ to meeting them, it’s time to set some realistic goals and actionable steps to achieve these goals.

For example, if you have an expectation for yourself to be a great leader or manager but feel like you have some areas of challenge and are falling short. Make sure you are very clear on exactly what you would like to accomplish.

-What qualities does a great leader have?

-What of those qualities are a challenge to you?


Create some goals for yourself.

-The goal is to be a great leader and get recognized for this.


Break it down into actionable steps.

-Ask your supervisor and/or colleagues and team for more feedback regarding what you need to work on

-Find a mentor or coach to help you develop out the applicable skillset

-Find other resources to help you develop these skills such as books, coursespodcasts, mentors, conferences, etc


Set dates to re-evaluate these expectations, how you are meeting them and what needs to be adjusted.


Some areas to evaluate your expectations of yourself:


  • Success


What is success to you? What does that look like? Get specific.

What is success to your supervisor? Does it match your own definition? Discuss this with your supervisor and make sure you understand where you match and where there’s a difference.
Your definition of success might outgrow your current position, but in order to reach your goals, you have to meet your supervisors’ expectations of success or you won’t be given the opportunity to be promoted.

This discussion might start with you saying something like, “I’ve been thinking of my goals and what I think success would be in this position. What would you consider success in my position to look like?”


  • Communication


What are your expectations of communication with your supervisor? What about with your colleagues? Have these expectations been agreed upon?


If you are unhappy with the type or cadence of communication you have with your supervisor or co-workers or if you are unsure of what it is, have that discussion.
These expectation discussions are never a waste of time. They help clarify and unite co-workers to the same objective.


For instance, if you collaborate on projects frequently with your colleagues, but find there’s a lack of communication until close to the deadline and you would like some more touch points, have that clear discussion with them. Don’t check-in one time and expect the entire cadence to change.

You could say something like “I notice we don’t check-in as team when working on projects until close to deadline. I’d love to set up touch points in case we need to clarify or get feedback. Would it work for you if we schedule check-ins?”


  • Work/Life Balance


Are you happy with your current work/life balance?


If you feel like work hours are at an unhealthy level, then evaluate whether it’s a season that you can see the end of or if it is a work culture that is unhealthy?

If there’s an unhealthy precedent set either by your own doing or a company standard, have a discussion with your supervisor.


For example, you started a new job and wanted to make a good impression therefore you worked until 7pm every night trying to prove yourself. Now it’s a year in and you are feeling burnt out and want to make a change.

Speaking to your supervisor might sound like “I love what I’m doing and have worked really hard in the past year to set myself in a good position of knowledge and experience in the company but feel that I need a better work/life balance. How do you feel if I leave at 5pm daily, which falls into the normal full time range, giving me a better life balance?” Most likely your supervisor will respond well to this. Good leaders want their team engaged and productive and know this only happens when they are satisfied in the job and feel valued and appreciated.




  • Remote Working


If you are among the many who are hybrid or full-time remote working, have you considered what expectations you hold or your supervisor holds for you?

Some questions to ask would be

   - Are there specific hours you need to be available?

How are you supposed to communicate when you’re available? (slack, text, email, etc.)

What is the expected response time in communication and mode of basic communication?

Do you communicate when you are on lunch or break?

What other aspects and expectations need to be evaluated and discussed?


Reflect on any other expectations you might have or want to have for yourself. Once you are aware of them, ask yourself if there’s anyone you need to communicate these expectations to or discuss with.


It feels very freeing when everyone is on the same page, and all have clarity with what is expected. This frees your brain space to actually get your job done and gives space to think about the future you want to have.


If you need help breaking this down for your own life and work, contact me!
This is what coaching is all about, helping you reach your goals! And the first step is gaining clarity which includes becoming aware of expectations.


Take advantage of a free consultation and let’s talk!

Aleta Maxwell

I've spent years studying and developing communication skills specifically for leadership and the workplace. Conflict prevention and resolution is fundamental in leadership development and I coach leaders to develop key skills and tools to help their team excel.

If you'd like to develop these skills, there's several ways I can help!

> Read my book "Uplifting Leaders! How to have difficult conversations that motivate and inspire". This is a great first step as this book is packed with real life examples from my years of experience along with key tips and tricks to navigating difficult conversations in the workplace.

> Schedule some one-on-one coaching with me to develop a specific plan for you to reach your maximum potential.

> Bring me into your team to assist with team communication strategies. This looks like group coaching with individual coaching as needed. 

> Sign up for one of my online development courses. These courses are designed for employees and leaders to develop key skills at their own pace. 

> Schedule a one day or multi-day workshop for your company to present key ideas that will help the leadership team grow in their skills!