A group of people has been attempting to accomplish some task as effectively and efficiently as possible. Because human being function in many different contexts and come from many different backgrounds and cultures, there are a wide variety of behaviors that are considered “appropriate” in various circumstances. Sometimes, we are expected to compete with each other vigorously. Other times, we are expected to be highly cooperative. Sometimes, the point of a group is to make a lot of noise. At other times, we are expected to maintain a respectful silence. When our own expectations are violated, we may feel resentful, angry, or afraid. When we violate what we later find to be the expectations of others, we may feel embarrassed or resentful. A lack of understanding of expectations not only tends to produce negative emotions; it also can directly and negatively impact productivity.

How can people select from the tremendous variety of possible behaviors those that fit in smoothly with an overall group process?

People have a drive to learn and practice new skills.
People have a drive to be as productive as possible in order to acquire things and experiences.
People have a drive to become defensive if they are blamed for a violation of expectation when they had no idea what that expectation was.
It is easier to behave in a way that complements the behaviors of others if the expectations of other people are clear.

Make sure that what is expected is clear to all group members. This applies not only to the products of behavior (what is to be done) but also as to manner (how it is to be done).

Studies of job satisfaction and salary consistently indicate that people are more dissatisfied from their expectations being violated than from salary per se.

A world champion goes to the Olympics and wins the silver medal --- and is disappointed. Someone also goes who is very much an underdog and wins the bronze medal – and is ecstatic.

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