There she was, frustrated and complaining that she had not been seen. Michelle was sharing her story to help me see the problems she was experiencing in her company.
She was seeing a critical problem in the way her boss was behaving. To her, he was not living up to the company culture. Instead of paying attention, the employees need to be seen and recognized, she was seeing him brushing doubts aside and not caring.
It’s almost a standard situation. One most employee experienced at least once in their career. They feel frustrated as things don’t happen as they expect them to. In their frustration, they come to the conclusion that they are right. For them, it means that their expectations describe how things are meant to be.
Using that assumption, they exclude that others might have a different way to experience the situation.
When people experience a situation they will see it through the lens of their expectations to give meaning to the experience. And, based on their values, they’ll associate a feeling with that experience.
What Michelle had to find out, was that her expectations and values were not shared exactly as she had assumed them to be. Looking for example at her expectations she had simply forgotten to question how others expected her to act and how they saw her role. Investigating her values she found out that her desire to be seen was attended to by her boss, but differently than how she had wanted it to be. She had hoped to be seen as someone devoted to helping her clients while her boss was concentrating on her ability to filter the right candidates. She was seeing the care and human touch she was contributing with while he was appreciating her foresight.
Whatever intuitive idea we have of values like respect, care, attention, or others, they still need to be confronted with the way the values are lived and attended to. That’s when they become a shared reality. That’s when expectations meet.