We rise or fall to the level of others’ (or our own) expectations. “The power of expectation subconsciously controls your life to finally create self-fulfilling prophesies. The expectations of those around you modify your behavior for better, or for worse. Your own expectations can fill you with energy, or drive you into despair and despondency.” (EffectiveMindControl.com)

It turns out that our brains are wired to use imitation as the tool for behavior and action. We do what we expect we can do. We subconsciously narrow our choices, as well as our expectations of reward or punishment for our behavior. If you have accomplished a lot, chances are either your expectations for yourself and/or the expectations of key influencers in your life were high.

This is an incredibly powerful capability for reinforcing or limiting behavior, as the brain will literally reward you for expecting a positive outcome by releasing dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter that makes you feel pleasure. In fact, the mere expectation of a positive outcome (reward) causes your brain to release this powerful organic chemical into your system, causing you to take action (e.g., work harder) that will lead to said reward.

Positive expectations lead to employee engagement

Leaders and managers can use positive expectations to motivate and inspire people toward their organization’s goals. Their own confidence and successes will naturally create positive expectations in others, causing their team members to also anticipate success. When positive expectations such as these are transmitted throughout the organization, team members will become fully engaged, responding to those expectations with energy and enthusiasm. Once a culture of positive expectations has been developed, the process will become self-sustaining and ongoing, as your organization continues to communicate high expectations for every member of the team.

Positive outcomes are directly related to the power of expectation. If good results are anticipated by everyone, you are far more likely to see them realized. What are your expectations of your employees, your partner, your kids, and yourself?

I’d love to hear some stories about how the power of expectation was put to positive use in your organization, or in your personal life.