08 October 2008

Communicating expectations

One of my repeated memories from my childhood is how angry I’d get when my mom would ask me to do something moments before I was about to do it. I’d so much wanted to do whatever-it-was without being asked to, and suddenly I didn’t want to do it at all.

It’s so strange how sometimes someone telling me to do something makes me not want to do it. Likewise, it’s strange how it’s so hard sometimes for me to tell others what I want.

I clearly remember realizing during that first year of marriage how silly this was. At best it was childish; at worst, irrational. I should be happy when someone I love tells me what makes them happy. And how can I expect to get what I want if I’m not willing to ask for it?

Well, knowing and doing are two different things.

On the first score, I think I’ve actually done pretty well in my life thus far. I’m usually happy when people tell me what they expect of me.

(Incidentally, this the the best management advice I’ve ever gotten: The most important thing to do as manager is to let your employees know exactly what is expected of them.)

On the second score, I’ve never done as well. My inferiority complex has always led me to just “deal” whenever my own needs, wants, or expectations aren’t met. Instead, I just try to fill them myself whenever I can.

1 comment:

Craig Weeks said...

I'm a kindred spirit, I think. I and my wife would both be willing to use the term "conflict avoider" to describe a part of my nature. That sounds like a better thing than it actually turns out to be.