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3 Impacts of Low Expectations on Engagement

Low expectations yield poor performance.


Further, continually setting low expectations continually yields poor performance. In fact, setting low expectations - intentionally or not - grants permission for poor performance.



Over time, the setting of low expectations becomes inherent to “what” we do. It results in continual and ongoing interference to both effective and meaningful engagement.

Why?

Because the mindset of “low expectations” crafts "matching behavior." When these occur, we may blame others for poor performance, when in reality, they are responding to the “low expectations” that have been set by us.

You may recall that I identified the "3 Mental Roadblocks to Engagement" and the "3 Steps to Overcoming them." Of those 3 roadblocks, today’s focus is on the impact of “low expectations” as they relate to effective and meaningful engagement.

Failure to effectively address "low expectations" and their impact on the engagement process can have a long-term negative impact on “what” we do. When “low expectations” are prevalent, the results are underachievement, blame, and self-doubt.
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Underachievement.

Low expectations create underachievement. Holding low expectations for others is the result of a belief that our presence does not offer value to those around us. When we believe that “what we do” or “how we do it” will not make a difference, we craft low expectations. Inevitably, low expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Consequently, our "engagement level" in these situations will be minimal at best.

What we believe matters - it drives our behavior.

Blame.

Low expectations lead to placing blame. When “low expectations” are the norm, poor performance will also be the norm. If low expectations remain unchecked or unchallenged, performance will suffer and we will eventually point to the failure(s) of those involved. The next logical step is outright blame for “their” inabilities with a blatant disregard of “our” contribution(s) of low expectations. It may even sound like this; those students can’t…, those employees won’t…, that customer isn’t…, etc.  Thus, when engaging we deploy limited effort as we believe that our engagement will not make a difference, so why bother.

Subpar results leads to seeking, finding, and placing blame.  All the while, the root of those subpar results may be our own low expectations.

Self-doubt.

Low expectations cause self-doubt. When our "low expectations" lead to results around us which are continually poor, we may begin to doubt ourselves. This doubt creates a belief system. If our beliefs remain unaltered we will become more and more accepting of "low expectations and poor performance." Consequently, we end up doubting our own abilities when in reality, we have created the belief system of low expectations that may be driving low performance.

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Final thoughts.

Interference to engagement can occur during a one-on-one transaction, in a one-to-many transaction, during a single isolated event, or over an extended period of time.

What you believe about another person’s ability to participate - with you - in the engagement transaction is critical. Failing to understand the impact of low expectations on engagement and how to address them may slow both personal and organizational success and growth.

As always – if you would like to learn more about this topic - or - book me to speak with your organization - or - discuss coaching opportunities, operators are standing by! 

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