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Don’t Let High Expectations Hurt Your Team’s Confidence

High expectations can motivate team members.

But if your standards are too high, you may be doing more damage than good, possibly hurting the self-confidence of those on your team.

To temper the negative effects of overly ambitious expectations, try the following three things.

  • First, be judicious about when and how often you express dissatisfaction. In situations where people need to improve, push them to stretch, but if people sense you’re constantly discontent, they’ll be demoralized.
  • Second, make sure every person on your team knows what you value about them. If you want them to take your critique to heart, it’s imperative they also know what you find special about them and their contributions.
  • Third, make sure to communicate your expectations ahead of time, not just after someone has failed to meet them. And don’t forget to be self-compassionate. You will be more forgiving of others if you loosen unrealistic expectations of yourself.

Adapted from “Are Your High Expectations Hurting Your Team?,” by Ron Carucci


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