I talk a lot about the criticism that comes on the path to success. But what about the psychology of failure? Did you know that how you manage your expectations can define your performance as an executive leader?
Laird Hamilton once said, “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your two ears.”
Everyone falls victim to negative thoughts. They are often unpredictable and catch us off guard.
They come to tell us we aren’t good enough, that we are lazy, selfish, and that we just aren’t made of “the right stuff.”
Here’s the truth:
Having negative thoughts is a normal process on the road to personal and professional development.
Success and failure can be largely defined through how you manage your expectations. Setting tangible, concise goals and delivering those results help keep negative thoughts at bay.
Through my experience, there are three steps you need to take to effectively manage your expectations. Memorize and share them with your team to start building a culture of collaboration and transparency in your organization.
Base your own expectations in reality.
A common problem in today’s work culture is when an executive leader sets unrealistic goals.
When establishing expectations for a project, are you taking into account disruptions, setbacks, obstacles, and other interferences to the “ideal” condition? Do you have the tools you need in order to achieve your goals?
Taking time to reflect on these questions and assess your answers is critical. Basing your expectations in reality provides a better opportunity to position yourself to face criticism from others as well as from yourself.
Customize a clear and focused message.
Goals should not be kept secret. An effective executive leader clearly communicates goals to teams – simple as that.
Keeping information above water for all to see is critical to building organizational trust. Without that, you’re dead in the water.
When your message is clear and well-defined, people understand what to expect from you. You have also made your expectations their expectations — keeping you in control of your own “success” narrative.
Define benchmark goals to manage your expectations.
Are you your own worst critic? I know I am. We are harder on ourselves than anyone else could be, and yet we are statistically more accountable to other people.
This is why mentorship and professional coaching is a $2 billion industry. Developing personal accountability is directly linked to learning how to expertly manage your expectations.
I walk clients through breaking down large goals into smaller pieces. This makes them more digestible (and grounds my executive leader clients in reality).
Benchmark goals are an effective way to demonstrate progress, which in turn provides a healthy dose of motivation to push ahead.
Remember to recover from mistakes and always move forward. And be careful how you talk to yourself – you are listening.
Dave Ferguson is “The Leaders’ Coach”, an internationally recognized executive leadership coach, speaker, facilitator, and author. Are you interested in talking to Dave about coaching or having Dave speak to inspire and motivate your team? “ASK COACH DAVE” at 704-907-0171 or at Dave@AskCoachDave.com.