13 May 2015 19:32 IST

Go beyond your job expectation

Understand and deliver on the unspoken and you will be rewarded

In the last few years, the corporate world has gone through massive changes. Gone are the days when you were considered a winner when you delivered as per the written job description alone.

Today, if you only stick to what your JD says, you are considered to be just another professional who is diligent and meets expectations, but doesn’t exceed them.

An unstated objective may not be always be communicated in writing or verbally. Hence, it is important for you to find out what is expected of you, even if the expectations are not clearly spelt out.

Expectation setting

Often, in corporate workshops, the speaker starts the workshop by asking what the audience’s expectation from the day’s session is. The speaker makes a note of these and, at the end of the day, he or she usually revisits the points. In most cases, the participants feel the speaker has done a good job at meeting their expectations. Yet, not everyone leaves the workshop in the same frame of mind. Some participants go back happy, others feel there was something missing.

The reason is simple. The participants had stated their expectations and the speaker met them all, but some had a few unstated expectations. Since they weren’t met, they weren’t satisfied.

I learnt the importance of unstated expectations the hard way. A couple of years ago, when I joined an organisation at the middle-management level, I tried to do my best to cope with the new challenges. I worked hard, even harder than I had in my previous stint. But at the end of the year, during my appraisals, I was rated as an employee who “meets expectations”. This despite my feeling that I had done every possible thing to deserve an “exceeds expectations” rating.

I felt at a loss. I was a highly valued employee at my earlier organisation and was one of the few who were slotted as a ‘top talent’..

Meets expectations

According to me, I was actually putting in much more effort here. Then what went wrong?, I couldn’t help but wonder.

I worked even harder the next year, but the feedback from the next appraisal was no different. My boss repeated: “I had expected more from you. I know you are brilliant and that is why you are here. In my mind, you can deliver much more than any normal employee. There is no doubt that you worked hard and did what you were asked you to do, but I expect some more initiatives, which a thought leader like you can deliver,” he explained.

I felt devastated and challenged.

“But, then, you should have told me this before,” I said.

And his reply said it all. “I agree that regarding expressing expectation, the less ambiguity, the better. But, in reality, we seldom speak out all our expectations.

It’s on you

Even if I had told you what I expected of you, a few things would remain unstated. You need to understand and deliver the unspoken; you will then exceed my expectations,” he said.

It is debatable if this is fair or not. But I was lucky to find a mentor to explain this to me. Not everyone may be as fortunate. Thus, look for the unstated element in your role before it surprises you, and act on it. The onus is on you.