Manage expectations

One British manager put it to us, “We need top management to stop giving us more and more bloody jobs, on more and more bloody projects”.

The first challenge that we explore is the one mentioned most often by managers and leaders we worked with in our research. How do you deal with bosses that set unrealistic expectations? When you are overloaded and your boss says, “Here’s another project for you”, how do you respond? When people ask you to transform your organisation, and do it by next Tuesday, what do you say?

A central job that leaders do is to manage the bosses. However high a leader is in the hierarchy, there is someone who sits above. For a chief executive it is shareholders or trustees. For senior managers ...

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