The power of expectations seems to be their influence on the outcome. The idea is, that high expectations can open the door to big outcomes and that low expectations may end up with small results.
In a recent conversation with an incoming leader, I took up the invitation to brainstorm a few ideas for her project. It was fun to see her smile broaden as well as creativity sparkles appear in her eyes. And yet, as we were ending our call, her summary made her low expectations visible. At the same time, the beginning of our conversation had been a detailed description of her high expectations toward her team.
She wasn’t paying attention to her expectations of others. It made it impossible for her to regulate her expectations.
A reality check would have helped her adapt to the expectations she had towards the members of her team. That is, she would have verified what is possible and compared that with her assumptions as to how the team would act. High expectations, just as much as low expectations are not aligned with the possible when it comes to interacting with others. They impact what people will then ask for or try to achieve with others.
Something different is the expectations one has toward the situation and life. What we call low expectations is an assessment of the probability of success that assumes it to be lower than the probability of failure. What we call high expectations is the hope that success is more probable than failure. Whatever of both is true, the question is what expectation best helps to deal with the number of failures one will be confronted with.
The higher the expectations the more difficult it is to deal with failures.