Skip to main content
Search Jobs

Search Jobs


Women in Leadership Presents: Managing Unrealistic Expectations so They don't Manage You

Women in Leadership Presents: Managing Unrealistic Expectations so They don't Manage You

By Elizabeth Lasko

This month’s Women in Leadership (WIL) session invites you to join a conversation with Susan Berg, of Highline Practice, about using new skills to manage unrealistic expectations that others place on us throughout our daily lives.

While planning for this approaching event, I examined what it takes for high-potential people to make it to the top and what types of self-promotion they use. Check out the remarkable TED Talk in which Nat Ware talks about the expectation gap. – Why We’re Unhappy – the Expectation Gap

After listening to Nat’s TED Talk, I started ruminating on ways I had managed unrealistic expectations that were placed on me at work and at home. I remember several times I had too many deliverables due and not enough time to do them. I recalled numerous times I had a list of chores at home but signed off work exhausted and frustrated, not wanting to tackle the never-ending to-do list. I gathered the following catalog of managing unrealistic expectations techniques:

  • Saying no – Saying no at work can be scary; however, keep in mind that you have the authority to say no as a way to manage unrealistic expectations. Even though saying no is difficult, it is important to learn how to do it. Never learning to say no, can lead to burnout, failing, and underperforming.  
  • Ask for clarification – Asking clarifying questions can help manage unrealistic expectations. When given a task, determine if it is high-ranking, if it is a priority, and what are the penalties if it is not completed in time. Then, decide if you need to manage the expectations and compromise. 
  • Ask for time – Rushing to say yes can cause your deliverables to pile up. Instead of immediately saying yes, ask for time to think about the assignment. Asking for time allows you to review your workload and determine if the expectation is manageable or unrealistic and in need of compromise. 
  • Offer a compromise – Offering a compromise allows you to ask for clarification, review your current to-do list, weigh the consequences, and determine if the expectation is unrealistic. If the expectation is unrealistic, you can explain why and offer a compromise on when you can deliver what is being requested.
  • Outline the consequences – Offering a reasonable compromise may not be taken well. In that case, outline the consequences of trying to meet the unrealistic expectation. For example, trying to take on this assignment will impact another urgent assignment. Using realistic evidence and reason helps the other person realize why their expectation is unrealistic and what they can do to make it realistic. 

Fellow TTECer? Join us at our WIL session on April 20, 1:30 PM MST to hear from Susan Berg about progressing your career using successful self-promotion skills. Check out the WIL Mosaic space for more details. 

Interested in learning more about joining the TTEC team and being a part of amazing sessions like this? Check out for more career opportunities

Join our talent community

Whether you like working with clients, customers, or in a business support role, we have a position you’ll rock.

Interested In

By submitting your information, you acknowledge that you have read our privacy policy and consent to receive email communication from TTEC.