Professional Development

From Good To Great: 20 Examples Of Exceeding Expectations

Meeting expectations at work is crucial when it comes to keeping your job. As a team player, you could disappoint your boss and your coworkers if you don’t. However, exceeding expectations is something entirely different.

Exceeding expectations is going above and beyond what is required of you. This goes for employees and managers. The following will help clarify just what this means, along with some excellent examples of exceeding expectations.

What Does It Mean to Exceed Expectations?

Meeting expectations referees to doing your job as best you can while meeting all of the requirements outlined in your job description. It also means that you are respecting the standards and procedures your boss has put in place.

🚀If you’re meeting expectations, you’re showing up on time, dressed appropriately, and properly completing your work on time. Exceeding expectations is doing all of this and more. While meeting expectations is the minimum you can do, exceeding those expectations goes one step further.

For example, if you’re told to complete a project by Friday and you finish on Thursday, you’ve met your boss’s expectations and exceeded them.

Why Is It Important to Exceed Expectations at Work

Exceeding your boss’s expectations shows that you’re committed to delivering high-quality results and you’re performing at your best.

This tells your boss that you’re capable of handling more responsibility. Best of all, it could open up doors to advancement and lead to a promotion.

The following are a few examples of exceeding expectations for employees. You can incorporate them into your work in order to show your boss that you’re committed to the company and want to succeed.

Examples of Exceeding Expectations in the Workplace

1. Complete Work Early

All companies consider an employee who consistently completes their work ahead of time as an asset. This employee becomes the person the boss turns to when they need something done efficiently and in a timely manner.

These employees don’t push themselves beyond their capabilities. They simply make the most of their time.

📈 If you want to exceed expectations, focus on finishing your tasks ahead of schedule in order to impress your boss and stand out as a productive team player.

2. Put the Team First

If you want the team to succeed while placing high standards on yourself, help others when you see a problem arise. Don’t let mistakes slide just to save time.

Your employer will appreciate this type of employee. They want their team members to help one another, while still getting their own work done on time.

A team member that exceeds expectations looks for ways to work together toward a common goal.

3. Be Confident

You need to believe in yourself without coming across as being arrogant.

Those with confidence stand up for themselves by asking for a raise or transfer when they know they can do a good job or have the experience needed to do so.

Your self-confidence can make you more productive and help you exceed expectations. By doing so, your boss will see you as a valuable employee that they can count on for results.

There will be times when you make mistakes or things won’t work out as planned. Don’t think of these situations as failures. Instead, look at them as learning experiences and move forward.

Read More: 15 Examples of Confidence in the Workplace to Unlock Success

4. Get Organized

Managers want well-organized employees who are easy to work alongside. Organization skills are one of the most valuable skills you can develop. Staying organized will allow you to work faster and better.

5. Known What is Expected of You

You need to clearly understand what’s acceptable and what’s not if you want to exceed expectations. Know what your boss expects from you, and make sure you are meeting their expectations.

6. Be Everyone’s Go-To Person

Your co-workers and manager enjoy having reliable people around them.

💎 If you want to exceed expectations, start by being that one person they can all count on. Be the employee who gets things done, even if it’s not part of your job description.

Volunteer when your manager needs help. Take on additional tasks when possible. Most importantly, make sure you’re accomplishing the jobs you take on.

7. Ask Questions

Never be afraid to ask your manager to clarify their instructions. They may have forgotten to explain why a certain decision was made or why you’re expected to complete your task in a specific way.

You can’t exceed expectations if you’re not sure what the expectations are.

Ask clarifying questions when your boss leaves out information or skips details. By asking these important questions, you’re avoiding miscommunication and confusion. You’ll be able to relax, knowing you doing what is expected of you.

8. Remove Obstacles

Try to solve problems on your own, but do not be afraid to go to your manager with concerns you may have. There may be times when you simply don’t have the information or resources needed to do your job. These are obstacles that stop you from exceeding expectations.

9. Be Self-Motivated

If you know what needs to be done, do it. Don’t wait for your boss to specifically ask you to do something that is obvious.

Step up and try to complete the task. If you need help, ask. Once you’ve finished, discuss your accomplishments with your boss and explain the steps you used to achieve them.

10. Know the Direction You’re Headed In

Create a master task list. Use subheadings to break down each job on the list. Using a detailed plan ensures that you won’t miss any deadlines.

You can easily get lost when moving from one task to another. Once this happens, you’re left with confusion. Your task list will help avoid this issue too.

🧭 If you want to exceed expectations, you need to have a sense of direction. It will eliminate wandering around while wondering what you should be doing next, which is a huge time waster.

11. Be Prepared

Arrive at work with a plan in mind. Your time is valuable, and you don’t want to waste it waiting to find out what you should be doing. Either arrive early or go over your schedule for the next day before leaving work each evening.

12. Stay Positive

It’s essential that you keep a positive attitude at work, even when you’re facing a challenge. Facing a deadline, starting a new project, or facing something that’s time-consuming can be discouraging. Ask your boss for support, but have the right attitude when doing so.

Having a negative attitude will affect everyone. Stay upbeat and focused on the ultimate goal.

13. Match Tasks to Your Skills

Take on projects that you know you’ll be good at. You’ll be showing your boss and co-workers your best skills.

If you aren’t sure how to do something, ask before getting started. Not understanding what you’re supposed to be doing can be misinterpreted. You don’t want to look as though you’re taking on too much.

Your skills need to match your job description if you’re going to meet expectations, let alone exceed them. Make it your goal to only do tasks you are capable of.

14. Regularly Check In with Your Boss

Not understanding what is expected of you can keep you from meeting your expectations. Ask to have a weekly discussion with your boss about their expectations. You can also use this time to negotiate deadlines in order to avoid being late in completing a task.

If you’re considering taking on additional tasks, discuss them with your boss at this time. That way they can provide the support you need. It doesn’t hurt to check in with your co-workers too.

🔄 By consistently checking in the your supervisor and team members, it is much easier to meet and exceed expectations. Everyone will feel prepared and be on the same page.

15. Deliver Quality Work in a Timely Manner

A consistent track record of delivering quality work in a timely manner will keep your manager happy, and this helps to build trust with your boss.

There’s nothing more frustrating than an employee who waits until the last minute and delivers poor work results.

Make sure you consistently deliver high-quality work on time by asking for help from your co-workers and boss. If you’re not happy with the quality of your work, ask for help.

16. Own Up to Mistakes

Even if you have to say you are sorry or know you’re letting others down, admit your mistakes. Be open to advice on how to improve. Never try to blame your mistakes on a co-worker.

⚡ The best you can do after making a mistake is to take action and correct the problem. Learn from your mistakes so they don’t happen again. Communicate with your co-workers so that they understand what is happening.

17. Develop New Skills

You’ll perform better and exceed expectations with knowledge. To be successful, you need to continually develop your skills. This allows you to be versatile, flexible, and resourceful for your boss and co-workers.

Look for additional training and development opportunities. Be open to learning about new tools and technology that benefit your team.

18. Respect Your Coworker’s Individuality

Everyone is different. As individuals, we all have our own way of doing things. What looks unorthodox or inefficient to you may be another person’s way of doing their best to accomplish their goals.

Don’t be hasty when making judgments. Think about their ideas and compare them to yours. You may discover a new way of looking at things.

19. Play Well with Others

Your manager doesn’t have the time or patience needed to be a mediator for every disagreement between co-workers. Eliminate this burden by building bridges with your team members.

💡Instead of arguing each other’s points, try to get everyone to listen and learn from one another.

You can also exceed expectations by recognizing the importance of a manager’s time. Keep them updated on projects so they don’t have to track you down and ask questions.

20. Set Yourself Apart From Others

Listen to what your co-workers are saying and watch what they are doing. By doing so, you may discover a task, a client, or a project that no one else wants to take on. By taking on one of these items yourself, you’ll stand out in the eyes of the boss.

While these may not be the most favorable jobs in the company, you will exceed expectations by stepping up and diving into them. You might even be able to get some of your co-workers on board once you get started.

Putting These Skills to Work

Use these examples of exceeding expectations to improve your performance at work. By helping your co-workers come together and alleviating some of your boss’s worries, you’ll become a valuable employee.

Once you get into the habit of exceeding expectations, you set yourself up for advancements and promotions that used to seem out of reach. It’s one of the best ways to further your career while making yourself a better person.

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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