I had the privilege of taking a quick getaway to Florida with my parents recently. Two days in Florida (when you don’t live anywhere near the ocean) is always a great escape. To get to hang out with my parents was the icing on the cake.
And it was. Sunday and Monday were beautiful with sunny skies and 80 degree temperatures. Then the forecast came. Tuesday: cloudy and cool with very little sun. Wednesday: storms, not just those scattered showers that are known to pop up but storms.
Tuesday came and went. And true to the weatherman’s words, we never saw the sun and to be honest, a jacket felt pretty good for any outdoor adventure. Our day was relaxing. We had a leisurely breakfast and did a little shopping. But one thing we didn’t see or do was anything involving the sun for it never shone.
We joked about it several times. “We’re in Florida; it’s supposed to be warm and sunny!” In fact, we even saw a family walking to the beach, jackets and all, for a day of fun – regardless of the weather.
That day got me thinking. You know, for those of us who don’t live near the water, we do have an expectation of fun and sun when we travel a distance to the beach. And when raindrops come, that unmet expectation is a letdown.
So your business may not be on the beach. But is there a lesson for our workplace.
Here’s a truth: Every employee has two sets of expectations.
What does that mean? Employees really do live in the “wouldn’t it be nice if…” world. Wouldn’t it be nice if my boss thanked me today for the project I just spent 4 hours on. Or, for once, I wish my boss would catch my co-worker in the act for not doing her job. But unfortunately, employees eventually accept the reality their boss rarely says thank you and that lazy co-worker gets away with underperformance every day.
The sad truth is most employees are disappointed so often when “wouldn’t it be nice” doesn’t happen, they slowly accept a new reality of deflated expectations. And sadly, those expectations are usually met.
Let’s be honest, the workplace isn’t the beach or an ocean getaway. But as leaders, we can create a environment that doesn’t t force employees to endure their job until they can “escape” from it on a vacation.