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How to deal with your boss' high hopes

Overcoming unachievable expectations
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Overcoming unachievable expectations

Trying to meet expectations that are unfair and unachievable can be stressful. Anjali Venugopalan talks to experts who give tips on what to do if you have a boss who has unreasonable expectations from you.

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Get aligned
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Get aligned

An employee needs to make sure he or she is aligned with his or her manager’s expectations. You need to know what your tasks are, and what processes will be followed to complete them, says Suchita Dutta, executive director of Indian Staffing Federation. Understanding that your manager’s expectations from you are also a part of his or her deliverables can help clarify whether it’s unreasonable or not, says Anushree Singh, HR director at Avery Dennison.

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Define your non-negotiables
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Define your non-negotiables

What is unrealistic can be subjective, says Singh. Be clear on what you cannot compromise on. For some, it could be work-life balance, while for others, it could be ethics and values. "You need to have the courage and conviction to not bow down when there is pressure," says Singh.

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Plan your work
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Plan your work

"You can’t spend all your time checking mails," says Dutta. The people you’re working with should not expect you to respond instantly. Singh too says that you need to make lists with priorities. "You can't be firefighting all the time," says Singh.

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Be ready with data
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Be ready with data

If there is a situation where your manager says you haven't fulfilled expectations, respond with clarity and logic, says Singh. Understand why your manager thinks you’re lagging, & counter it with the details of your work. Be reasonable, and don't think it's personal, says Singh.

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Managers need to allocate fairly
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Managers need to allocate fairly

Often, managers allocate work that is designed to improve someone's weaknesses, says Dutta. This can be demoralising. Instead, let the employee improve weaknesses on his or her own, and focus instead on tasks for which he can use his strengths, she says. Don't just think, 'I need to get the job done', she says. Expectation setting must be based on dialogue, and should not be a dictatorship, she says.

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