In his piece on Monday, Josh Kwan described a “2x2x2” approach to mentorship:

Peter [Greer] calls it “2x2x2″—a relationship with 2 hours of conversation, 2 times a year, for 2 years. It may not sound like a lot of time, but when the mentor is someone with a rigorous, full calendar, it is counterproductive to ask for more time. The busiest people simply don’t have much time to give, and may be turned off by a potential mentee who sounds needy or too demanding.

Yesterday, Laura Ortberg Turner described navigating the difficult balance between disappointing others and treating them gently:

In their great book Leadership on the Line, Martin Linskey and Ronald Heifetz say that “leadership is disappointing your own people at a rate they can absorb.” If disappointment is the result of missed expectations, we will be dealing with this almost daily in our leadership. Breaking hard news, having personal conversations, receiving feedback from our colleagues. And we can take it hard and convince ourselves that everything must change, dramatically and right away.

Or . . .

We can be gentle.

Both of these writers described ways of setting realistic expectations – with those we mentor, with those we lead, and with ourselves.

So here’s today’s open thread question: Have you – as a leader or as a follower – ever set poor expectations and then struggled to meet them? What happened? And what should someone do to set good expectations with his or her employer, employees, mentors, friends, and family?


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