The Power of Expectations and Recognition
The application of expectancy and recognition has multiple considerations that must be included for measuring the effectiveness of either. The expectation of others or self for a specific outcome is what motivates people to stay and operate on a path that may or may not hold promise. Recognition of accomplishments by others or by self is what motivates a person to do better on the path that they have chosen. Leaders and managers at all levels must not only set clear and concise expectations but also ensure recognition is given when interacting with staff. In setting clear expectations, staff knows what is expected of them. In the process of setting expectations, the leader establishes guidelines for which to follow. One way to demoralize employees is by failing to tell them what they are accountable for, how (and whether) they are meeting expectations, how they can improve, and the consequences if they do or don’t. Just as setting expectations are important, not providing recognition to employees can be just as bad as failing to set clear expectations from the beginning. Providing recognition builds morale and ensures the employee feels as a sense of accomplishment.
As a leader sets objectives for subordinates while expressing confidence that the objective can be reached, an expectation is established. Victor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory has been the example of how expectancy is a motivator: “Expectancy is the link between the effort exerted and the performance of the worker. Expectancy is the perceived likelihood that effort will lead to a specific level of performance and is based upon personal experience, self-confidence, and the perceived difficulty of the goal” (Satterlee, 2013, p.167).
The expectations of others can push you to excellence or destroy you based on your strengths. Expectations are not always consistent with strengths and can create negative effects. One must first be able to recognize strengths in themselves and then others. When an expectation is in line with a person’s strength they are likely to excel quickly. A leader can project several types of expectations; negative, low, high, and wrong (Clifton & Nelson, 2010). A misplaced or communicated expectation can destroy an individual’s self-esteem and motivation to strive for excellence but if the expectation is strength based the individual can excel beyond their own expectations. The Bible tells us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah, 29:11, NIV). If expectations are not in line with God’s plan then we will not prosper as God has a plan or expectation for all people to prosper.
This is also true when an employee has an expectation of empowerment and the leader does not provide or does not understand the employee’s expectation. There must be a mutual understanding of leader and employee’s empowerment expectation in order to maximize performance. Empowering subordinate leaders and employees to make decisions and take actions in accordance with the organization’s purpose allows for greater flexibility and adaptability (Humborstad & Kuvaas, 2013). This concept is used in the United States military and is instrumental in the success of accomplishing the military’s mission. This is done through empowerment of the non-commissioned officers that many countries envy but cannot duplicate because they lack understanding.
Recognize Good Work
Recognition of good work can come in several forms, from simple applause to a well-deserved promotion. A good leader must be able to recognize good work in order to provide proper recognition. When an individual or groups are over or under recognized for their good work a lack of motivation or even friction can be caused with-in an organization (Seglow & Yeoman, 2010). Who gets