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March 8, 2007


The other evening a friend of mine talked to me about an issue he was having with her husband.  “He isn’t responsible for things”,  “He is 30 and is irresponsible like someone much younger”, etc.  We chatted a bit and it became very clear that though he may be all those things, the problem she was having had nothing to do with him, but more with her own expectations.  She felt that at a certain age everyone should attain a certain level of responsibility.   She expected her husband to be a certain way and friction was caused by those expectations not being met.

I thought about this story some more and realized that we all have expectaions that cause friction in our lives when they aren’t met.  It’s natural to form expectations, but it also seems a little silly to let it cause friction or disappointment.  Think about that for a second.   You form your expectations based on YOUR prior experiences, YOUR thoughts and YOUR wants and desires, then when someone other than you does not live up to your expectations, you get upset.  A little crazy, don’t you think?

You’re probably thinking that’s great blog-man, but that helps me how?? (see, friction caused by expectations of what you were going to get out of the blog…)  Actually it is useful advice.  As we progress through our career one of the responsibilities we begin to gain is the responsibility of training and leading others.  One of the biggest pitfalls you can make is expecting your subordinates or junior associates (or summer associates for that matter) to act as you did when you were in their position or to know the same infomation about the deal or the case or the matter as you do.  You will be one of the best leaders and teachers in your firm if you dispell any expectations and simply consider everyone as a blank slate.  Everyone makes mistakes, but if you are focused on the mistake and not how much you are let down or disappointed or whatever, you will handle the situation in a way that solves the problem rather than making new ones.

So that’s my view.  Let me know yours.  Post interesting stories, counter-points, whatever. 

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