Individuals Expectations in the Workplace


I received this list of  human expectations when I first trained as a Nurse in the very early 1970’s. That was an era when trade unions stood up for the rights of the workers and professional bodies were recognised as the authority to be respected. We had code of conduct and acceptable ways of behaving in the workplace. These were the very basic foundational expectations that I know many of my generation were brought up with.
• to be treated with respect at all times
• to have our wishes, choices and preferences recognised, listened to and respected
• to have our beliefs in our culture and race, and our religious and political beliefs recognised, and respected
• to have our age, gender, sexual identity, physical and mental condition recognised, listened to and respected
• to be communicated with in ways we understand and which value us as people
• to have the right to say “No” when determining and managing our lives
• to have our feelings recognised and respected and to be allowed to express emotional needs
• to have our need for privacy and confidentiality respected

More recently in my work as an Executive Coach, I have witnessed a distressing lack of some of these very basic expectations being met in the workplace. Year after year we read studies by Gallup, CIPD and other bodies indicating the huge amount of dis-ease, low morale, mental health problems, prejudice and bullying in the organisations in which we are employed.

In certain situations a boss or line manager expects certain things from certain people and if those expectations aren’t met, then someone must “pay”. It’s the same way for us in our jobs. If your boss has certain expectations of you and you don’t act or deliver results according to those expectations someone must pay. In this case, that someone is you.

So if understanding expectations is so important, why is it that we spend so little time discussing expectations both individual and corporate?

One reason is that it is usually not a quick and easy exercise to formulate and communicate well thought-out expectations.

Now a days it seems to be about performance, hitting targets and showing that all is aligned to company goals. So when does the individual get the chance to discuss how relevant these are for measuring their own individual level of success for the time period in which these expectations are valid.

I wonder if indeed the list of basic human expectations written over 30 years ago becomes a very secondary consideration in todays working world?




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