Expectations and Responsibilities


Expectations are goals or thoughts about what should happen.

Sometimes specific expectations can very good. I think most of us can see the value in very clear goals. But other times, the goals we have in mind can serve to disconnect us from the moment at hand and actually hinder performance.

As I’ve noted in relatively recent posts, more and more I am becoming a fan of a range of expectations or even what I call open expectations, which is basically the idea that no matter what happens, I can deal with it. To me, it’s not a version of setting a bar low. Rather, it’s a version of the ultimate confidence, the knowledge that we live mind over matter.

Responsibilities aren’t the same as expectations. Sure, they often flow from expectations, and sometimes I think we label them as expectations, but irrespective of labels, the concepts aren’t the same.

Responsibilities are about what gets done by whom. Responsibilities are about being accountable.

Some recent thoughts and questions have come to mind about expectations and their relationship to responsibilities.

How do you set expectations?

How do you communicate expectations within a family or team? Do you speak about them directly? Do you post them as constant reminders?

Are expectations and responsibilities one in the same for you, or are they different? How do they differ? How does your communication about each differ?

If expectations and responsibilities are different, how do you handle when each is met or missed? For yourself? For others?

I would love it if you’d share some of your thoughts and observations. As you explore these questions, I think you may find some interesting answers about how these concepts get confused, and how you can seek clarity about them.

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