Designer, illustrator, typographer and photographer Tash Willcocks works as a Program Manager at Hyper Island.


Tash, how do expectations to each other influence trust in teams? What can we do in teams to make sure we set and manage expectations in a way that’s most beneficial?

Expectations are funny things, we all have them on ourselves, others and the teams we work in. However, sometimes people do not express them and hold the view that everyone in this team must all be thinking the same and this will remain a constant. As many people have probably experienced, this is not true.


Think of it as a boat

You all get on as a team and express where you want to go and why, you align your expectations and set off a happy crew. But over time some sailors start rowing in a slightly different direction or not at all. If this is not addressed, you simply stand in water or go in circles. You are unlikely to reach your North Star (unless through luck) and become lost at sea.

At Hyper Island we encourage check-ins and check-outs: a simple way for a team to open or close a process, symbolically and in a collaborative way. It invites each member in a group to be present, seen and heard, and to express a reflection or a feeling. Checking-in emphasizes presence, focus and group commitment; checking-out reflection and symbolic closure.

keeping regular time for

feedback & reflection

is important

This enables the team to keep on course after their initial expectations have been expressed and keep communication, honesty and empathy flowing in the team.

With honesty comes trust and with trust comes honesty. To build on this keeping regular time for feedback and reflection is important. It helps give the team members time to be heard and express thoughts, feelings and opinions in an open and safe space, then feedback to build on these learnings and enable each other to grow individually and as part of the team.

Happy sailors, happy ship.