Having previously said that I don’t recommend having expectations, it may seem perverse that I am suggesting that intentions are fine.
But these really aren’t the same thing. Expectations we have of others are easy: we can’t make other people do or be how we say they should do or be, so having expectations of them is pointless. Whether having an expectation of ourselves in some field is a good idea or not depends on the expectation, I suppose.
Having an intention is something else: it is a hope, it is a desire that something will happen. In short it is expressing an outcome over which we have a realistic degree of control, whereas expectations are essentially demands.
There is a well known expression, Every behaviour has a positive intention
This says that, however perverse a behaviour is, at some level there is a positive payback for the person doing it (even if they are unaware of it). This is important because, if we want the person to stop doing something destructive, it may be necessary to help them find something more acceptable which will deliver the same payback. No payback means no change.
This is not intended to mean, like Pollyanna, that everyone always has the best of intentions and is always acting for the good. Nor does it seek to excuse those who do bad things. What this is saying is that, even where someone is doing something which apparently is entirely negative, and in particular—apparently—not in their interest, in fact they are getting some benefit from it at some level, even if they are unconscious of the process.
Whilst the phenomenon can show up somewhat histrionically, it can show up in a much milder way. It’s always worth considering, as a leader, what the positive intent of other people’s apparently perverse behaviour is.
> A short piece about expectations
> A short piece about dealing with one’s expectations
by Jeremy Marchant . © 2015 Jeremy Marchant Limited . uploaded 2 july 2015 . image: Free images
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