In the previous video, we introduced the framework model for professional behaviour. In this and the upcoming video, we will explain the framework in more detail. Here, I will focus on the in control part of the framework. As you can see in a previous video, the concepts communication and expectation management relates to the concepts being in control. Both are closely related, so I will discuss them here together. Let’s discuss expectation management first. We will explore, in general, what expectation management is and then present a technique which can help you managing expectations. So what is expectation management? Please imagine two roller coasters displayed over here. In which one would you want to take a ride?
Well, that’s easy, isn’t it? Of course, everyone would choose the second one, because you are missing a part of the track in the first picture. Following this analogy, expectation management is the practise of always informing or telling your stakeholders about the complete track. But how does this apply for student assistance at a higher education institution? Well, as a student assistant, you can use expectation management when you teach students. For example, by stating the intended learning outcome at the beginning of a course, by briefly communicating the set up of your course to your students at the start of a tutorial session, and by stating the classroom rules and your expectations at the beginning of your first session.
But more about this in week three. You will also have to apply expectation management skills when you, as a student are involved in the governing bodies of the institution. For example, when drafting a proposal, it is always a good idea to inform your fellow student members, target audience and peer group about the progress and direction of your proposal. And of course, students with support functions, also come across expectation management. For instance, if you work at the university at the reception desk or a support desk, and a student notifies you of a malfunctioning device in your building, department or one of your IT systems.
In terms of managing expectations, it will be a good idea to tell the students who reported the problem, what you are going to do next, how long it takes before the problem could be solved, and that you will keep him or her up to date, via email, about a definitive solution. But do you always have to provide every detail of your approach to your stakeholders? Let me give you an example. A professional calls to the service desk with the complaint that his classroom is freezing cold. Would you consider the following answer?
I’m sorry professor, but your room is too cold at this moment because of a failure in the POC switch in the technical room, which results in non-functioning temperature sensors. We will switch to the standard settings of the building management information system, and this will take up one hour. I do not think the professor in question will be happy with that answer. And does he or she need to know all of this? No. In this particular case, it might be sufficient to tell the professor that the malfunctioning temperature sensor is the cause the problem, and that investigating and solving it will probably take one hour. You can think of this as the need to know rule.
What kind of information is relevant for my stakeholder to include in my expectation management. By now we have established why it is important to manage expectations, but how to do so? In the last part of this video, I will provide you a step by step plan which might help you with managing expectations. This plan is adopted from Edwards Deming
and consists of four steps: plan, do, check, and act. The original theory states that this is a cyclical process, but for our purpose, we can think of a linear plan. The first step is plan. What are you going to do? For example, when you are teaching a small group session, the intended learning outcomes of the course give you a goal to work to. Or when you’re assisting a professor with research, you have to think about which articles you are going to read, or which data set you will analyse. You have to communicate your plan to your stakeholders, in the examples, the students and the professor. After you have stated your plan, you have to do everything that you have promised.
Once you have executed your plan, you have reached the first step. Check. So, did your plan work? Following the previous example, did the students reach the intended learning outcomes of the session, and have you analysed the right data sets? But checking could also mean that you verify if your communication of your plan was sufficient. Did the students know what the goal of the session was, for example? It might be wise to check the communication of the outline of your plan to your stakeholders before you actually execute it. If you detect inefficiencies in your approach, during this checking phase, you might want to adapt your actions in order to solve them. This is the last phase named act.
For instance, if you did not analyse the right data sets, you might want to analyse another one. Or if the students did not reach the intended learning outcomes, you might want to add an extra teaching and learning activity about a specific topic to the course. In this video, I have talked about what is expectation management, why it is important and how to do it. However, sometimes there is a limit to what you should tell when managing expectations. My colleague, Simon, will tackle this limit of boundary in our next video, by focusing on the protocol parts of a professional framework.
For instance, maybe you are not allowed to give an exemption for an exam to a student, because this is the responsibility of the exam committee.