Invisible vampires. Those moments, interactions, and people that just absolutely drain us. And if there’s one invisible vampire in the room, there’s really more than one. Vampires run in packs, after all. A powerful invisible vampire we encounter often is expectation. During a busy season in a growing organization, most of us probably feel like we’re being pulled in 100 diﬀerent directions. And in all honesty, humans overestimate what we can do in a day, while underestimating what we can do in a few weeks. Here at James & Matthew, we try to set and manage reasonable expectations. This is the secret to great service, and warding oﬀ this particular vampire.
Here are a few quick ways you can maintain reasonable expectations:
Ask, don’t tell.
When addressing any request, try asking the requestor when they need it, rather than telling them when you’ll have it. This opens a dialogue that’s beneﬁcial for everyone. And you’d be surprised how many things you might try to cram into a Monday, when the expectation is that it’s perfectly okay for you to have it by Wednesday. But if you don’t ask, you won’t know! Don’t set parameters on yourself that the requestor isn’t!
Under-promise with the intention to over-deliver.
Keeping with the request above, if you set the expectation for Wednesday with the requestor and you deliver Tuesday afternoon, they will be thrilled! This is not always possible, but there are always times that you can intentionally plan some margin with your time, in order to have a draft or a conversation about a particular project before the intended deadline. This will go a long way to establish an even better relationship between you and the requestor.
Get others involved.
There are the rare moments where you have so many expectations on you that it can feel oppressive. That’s a good time to use others as a sounding board!
Together, you can prioritize, they can jump in and help, etc. That’s what a team is there for. Never feel like you have to get it all done alone. The best ideas come from collaboration, and it’s always ideal to have another set of eyes on your work before it goes out.
The more we can manage expectations, the more we are being proactive and not reactive, which will lead us to producing our best work. And while there are certainly more invisible vampires out there, we have our work cut out for us ﬁghting this one! We’ll examine another invisible vampire in Part 2. In the meantime, what are some invisible vampires within your organization?