How Expectations, Disappointments, and Trust are Connected


persolog Blog zum Thema Erwartungen, Enttäuschungen und Vertrauen


And the role that D, I, S and C play in this


How are expectations and disappointments related to our personality? How are the four behavioral dimensions challenged in different ways when it comes to managing expectations? What tips can D, I, S and C be given for dealing with expectations and disappointments? And what does all this have to do with trust? At the International Online Trainer Day 2023, Paul Donders, Co-Managing Director of persolog Netherlands, provided exciting insights on this topic. He has been working with the Personality Factor Model since the 1990s and is an expert in leadership, training and also consulting. We have summarized his presentation with an “aha” effect in this blog article.

In this blog article, I will link the word “expectation” with the word “trust”: because we live in a time in which trust plays a major role. People no longer trust politicians and they also don’t trust their boss. People feel insecure in their organizations. There is a lot of talk about the question “Do we trust or not? Do we feel safe or not?” and indeed the topic of trustworthy organizations is one of the most heated at the moment. So expectations are one of the keys to building a trustworthy organization.


Challenges of Trust in Organizational Leadership

Just a few days ago, the CEO of a large healthcare organization called me and said: “Paul, we need immediate support. 50% of all our managers no longer trust their director.” I asked, “How is that possible?”. He replied, “She’s a fantastic and well-organized person, a great leader.” I thought I had missed something. If she is so great, why don’t they trust her anymore?

The managers said, among other things, that she was very affective, clear, reliable, but not empathetic. When she talked to them, she asked all these great questions, but it felt like she wasn’t really interested. She wasn’t interested in the people, she was only focused on the results. This situation has obviously gotten out of hand. What needs to be clarified here are the expectations. What do we expect from the manager and what do we expect from the others?

The persolog® Personality Factor Model gives a really clear insight into the topic of “expectations”. This helps to prevent conflicts from becoming toxic, because most conflicts are about expectations that are misunderstood.


Why are D, I, S & C and expectations so important?

Right after the pandemic, various reports claimed that 35% of all Germans are tired. If you’re tired at work, you get irritable more quickly, you don’t have as much energy, and you also lack time and resilience. We’re living in a post-Covid phase, in the midst of wartime. We’re living in a time of uncertainty, where people are tired and need security. Another CEO of a large healthcare organization said: “We see 2025 as the canyon year when everything will go down. We’re on a downward spiral and in 2025 we’ll hit rock bottom. Financially, in terms of work, due to a lack of people who can work for us. We hope that things will pick up again after 2025.” People don’t know how they’re going to survive 2025, if that’s true. In such an environment, people long for what we call the High Trust Organization.


What exactly is a “High Trust Organization”?

A “high trust organization” is an organization in which the relationships between the majority of those involved are based on mutual trust, respect and commitment. In a “high trust organization” there is 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 76% more commitment, 29% more satisfaction in private life and also 40% less burnout (figures from Paul Zak – HBR, compared with “low trust organizations”).

But how can you build trust in the first place? And how are trust and expectations linked?


Here are 3 psychological elements you need to trust someone:

  • Authenticity: “I experience you for who you really are.”
  • Empathy: “I believe that you are genuinely interested in my well-being and my success.”
  • Logic: “I know that you will keep your promises and that you are predictable and reliable.”


What it means for D, I, S and C:

If one of these 3 elements is not present, it is not possible to trust a person. So if we want to build trust with each other, we need to work on our personal authenticity, empathy and also logic. Expectations play a role here: a person with a dominant or a cautious behavioral dimension does not have such high expectations of empathy, along the lines of: “It’s good enough if I am who I am when I deliver something.”

People with a steady behavioral dimension place more value on empathy and authenticity, but also logic. They need the whole package.

People with the influencing behavioral dimension like to be authentic and empathetic, but they don’t need logic as much. So all four behavioral dimensions have different elements, but if I want to gain the trust of another person, I need to develop all three elements.


In order to build trust in the long term, expectations need to be clarified:

1. What do I expect from you?

2. What do you expect from me?

3. What do we expect from each other?

4. How realistic are our expectations?

What does this mean for us, especially with reference to D, I, S and C?


Let’s look at the relationship between “expectations of others” and “expectations of myself” in the context of the behavioral dimensions:


  • People high in the dominance dimension have high expectations of others but low expectations of themselves. Some people think that people with a dominant behavioral dimension have high expectations of others and themselves because they work so much. But that’s not true. They are really good at giving work to others, setting expectations for them, and then go play golf because they want freedom. And if you want freedom, you can’t have too high expectations of yourself.


  • People with the initiative dimension of behavior have low expectations of others because “Initiative” wants to make people happy and connect with them, so they don’t push them. They also have low expectations of themselves. They want freedom, they don’t want to be controlled. The low level of expectations therefore means a lower level of disappointment. This is why “Initiative” is the most optimistic. “I” also tends to regenerate the fastest of all because “I” doesn’t allow anything to get to him/her too much.


  • “Steady” has low expectations of others – because she/he doesn’t want conflict and doesn’t want to push people. She/He wants to make contacts and wants to work together. However, “S” also has high expectations of her-/himself: “I take responsibility. I want to be there for you.”


  • People who are very cautious have high expectations of others and also themselves. They want others to deliver quality and keep their promises. But “C” also loves quality so much that she/he also wants to deliver it. So “C” has the highest expectations and therefore the most disappointments in life, which doesn’t make it easy to be optimistic.

We can state the following: Expectations and disappointments are linked. They cannot be shared.


The 5 best D, I, S and C tips for dealing with expectations and disappointments in relation to yourself:

1. Discover your unique strengths: You know there are things you are very good at and that help you fulfill those expectations.

2. Accept your limits with grace: D, I, S and C and all combinations have limits. Accepting them with grace will help you deal with yourself.

3. Dare to be yourself: People who have a high level of expectations of themselves, and therefore a high level of disappointment, will run out of courage if they are disappointed in themselves so often. Become more courageous! (SC, S, C).

4. Train healthy behavior that helps you to stand up: How can D, I, S and C grow in their work and in managing expectations?

5. Practice a lifestyle of gratitude and write down everything you are grateful for.



The top 5 D, I, S and C tips for dealing with expectations and disappointments in relation to others:

1. Accept that others can never really understand you.

2. Start looking for the strengths of others.

3. Expand your empathy skills – be genuinely interested and committed to supporting the well-being and success of others.

4. Ask open and probing questions with genuine interest in the person.

5. Start a gratitude journal.


In order to build lasting trust, expectations must be clarified. What do I expect from you? What do you expect from me and what do we expect from each other? How realistic are our expectations?

~ Paul Donders


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