The Impact of Unspoken Expectations on Personal and Team Success


There's an impact, and significant consequences, when one person on the team has unspoken expectations. Those expectations may manifest as being not collaborative, unsupportive, or difficult to work with. Learn from the mistakes of others, and how you can break out of that habit, in this episode with leadership coach Beth Wonson. Then let us know: "Where does this show up for you?"



Hi this is Beth, with a Little Bit of Beth. And today I'm going to tell you a story about two women, one who came to the foundational level of the Navigating Challenging Dialogue Workshop, and I'm gonna call her Lucy, okay. The second woman, who wasn't at the workshop but who was the subject of Lucy's scenario that she brought to the table, we're gonna call her Alice.

So, Lucy’s scenario that she shared with the group was that Alice was new on board and she was young, she was just starting out, and in Lucy's mind Alice had not yet "paid her dues". Lucy was frustrated because Alice would contribute in meetings, voice her opinion, correct folks, and Lucy just felt like this was inappropriate. That Alice should be there to listen, to learn, and most of all to respect her elders.

So, a couple days before the workshop, Lucy's boss sent  her an email. And he said, "I want you to run all your draft documents by Alice so she can take a pass at editing them and get them back to you." Well this did not make Lucy happy and within a few days she had sent her (Alice) a version of a document and she had gotten back a heavily edited piece from Alice. This was really upsetting.

So, the scenarios that Lucy brought to the table were, one, she wanted to have a conversation with her boss about "what the heck is this about, what do you think you're doing?" And she wanted to have a conversation with Alice about understanding that her role is to observe, learn, and listen. As she started to go through the three steps that we go through in Navigating Challenging Dialogue -- One is telling you story, the next one is reframing the story, and the third is preparing for the actual dialogue. This is a three step process that you learn in the workshop. -- As we began going through Lucy's story it became obvious that she had a flawed first fact.

Now I want you to take a minute and listen, really think about the whole story I told you, and see if you can identify what Lucy's flawed first was. (pause) Yeah, it's pretty much that the new person, the youngest person, should do it, should not participate, but should observe, listen, learn, and respect their elders. So as we tried, as I tried to get into the coaching with Lucy, it's one of the only two times in 400 Navigating Challenging Dialogue participants, that I actually had to stop the coaching and say, "This isn't appropriate for the group and we're going to take, you and I gonna (willd) do some work on it later.

And the reason was" because Lucy was unable, she was so steeped in blaming her boss, and blaming Alice, for the discomfort she was feeling, she was so committed to staying in that place, that she couldn't move forward to letting go of all the emotional stuff her stories, all of the unspoken expectations that she was bringing to the table. We paused her story and went on to work of some other folks' scenarios and at the break she came up to me and she said, "I'm realizing in listening to other people that I'm getting in my own way here. I'm sabotaging myself, and if I don't get this straightened out, I'm probably going to end up getting fired."

That was pretty insightful and she asked me to work with her on one-on-one coaching, which I agreed to do. A few hours before our first one-on-one coaching appointment was supposed to happen, Lucy emailed me. She was full of anger.

She had in fact lost her job.

Her boss told her that he was letting her go because she wasn't collaborative, she wasn't supportive of new people being on the team, and she was difficult to work with. And Lucy's final statement in her email to me was, "Therefore I cannot afford one-on-one coaching because of my boss."

So when you think about this, I want you to just think a little bit about where are you potentially holding on to flawed first facts, pieces of information, unspoken expectations, beliefs that you may have, that either are sabotaging you or have the potential to sabotage you in the future. Until next time this is Beth with a Little Bit of Beth.


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