Various forms of research suggest that when leaders have higher types of expectations for their followers, those followers often live up to the expectations. In contrast, when a leader’s expectations are low, followers often live down to those expectations (Eden, 1984, 1990; McNatt, 2000). Expectations drive both the leader and follower.
Setting safety expectations, early and often, is critically important. There are many opportunities to set daily expectations with our people, especially at the point and place where work gets accomplished. Tools such as task hazard analyses, risk assessments, inspection or audit forms, or behavioral inventories allow for expectations to be appropriately set for our front-line leaders and their workers.