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Group Decision Tip: Resentments Have Roots in Expectations

Group Decision Tips IconIn principle, when we have expectations of others that don’t pan out it often leads to resentment which often brews discontent which often causes conflict. I have heard someone say that expectations are planned resentments.

The surest way to avoid resentment is to not have expectations. When I fall into a victim role it’s helpful to remember that I am rarely a victim of others and often I am a victim of my own expectations.

Practical Tip: As a participant in group decisions, I try hard not to develop false expectations. I expect from people only that they have specifically agreed to, and even then I keep in mind that most people are not capable of doing all that they agree to.

I focus on the good things that my group and the people in it have done, and what they could do, rather than what they should do according to my expectations.

Craig Freshley on Facebook
Craig Freshley
Group Decision Tips are written by NCDD member Craig Freshley, a long-time meeting facilitator and group process author. Craig invites NCDDers to view all his Tips at www.groupdecisiontips.com, and to share them freely for non-commercial purposes with proper credit to Craig.

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  1. Craig – this makes me think of the 4 principles of Open Space Technology (whoever comes is the right people, whatever happens is the only thing that could have, when it starts is the right time, when it's over, it's over). In a way, those principles are about managing people's expectations, and encouraging participants to appreciate what's present rather than focus on what's missing (like certain groups of people or certain outcomes).

  2. Right. Inadvertently or even unknowingly placing expectations on each other is so often the root of conflict. Managing expectations up front is key to conflict prevention.

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