We all have a lot of expectations in our relationships. Most especially our romantic partners and also our leaders. We often want them to fulfil our every need from a friend to mentor to coach and book club mate. The truth is that no-one can fulfil your expectations 100% and what’s more that’s not fair.
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
So what do we do with these unmet expectations? They can make us unhappy…
As a leader, I can remember feeling completely overwhelmed by the expectations of my team for a while. Sometimes it seemed they wanted a coach, a confidant, a mentor, a teacher, a mother, a cheerleader and many other roles which were hard to determine until the expectation arose. It’s good to be clear which roles you are willing to play and those that you do not want to fulfil.
An example is my realisation that I was being used by the team as the mediator in disputes. I didn’t like this role as it seemed to me that mature adults should be able to solve their problems and if they didn’t know how they needed to learn by practising.
So unless they had already had a face to face conversation to resolve the issue or it was serious, I provided options and sent them back to resolve with the individual they complained about. Subsequently, everyone in my team knew what was going to happen if they complained about another person without trying to address it themselves. So they addressed it themselves and became mediators or leveraged the experience of others to resolve disputes.
The graphic above gives some examples of desires you might have in relationships and the concept is that you should put the name of the person who fulfils that desire. If there is a gap, find someone with a matching desire to fulfil it and meet your expectations. It doesn’t have to be the same person all the time, and it’s healthiest if it’s not.
So are you a great matchmaker? Or do you need a little practice?