In order to meet your manager’s or peer’s expectations, you have to be clear on what the expectations are. If you are using the 4 W’s, you are setting the expectations well with your team. How can you get your manager to do the same for you?
You want the same end result - to be clear on the 4 W’s. The difference is that you may need to ask probing questions to get the clarity you need.
As your manager or peer gives you the expectation, turn it into the 4 W’s. If you don’t have any of the information, ask.
For example, a manager in another department asks you to get her the weekly inventory report. So you know The Who (you) and some of the What (weekly inventory report). But you need to ask questions to get the rest of the information.
For example: you can ask “sure, when did you need this by?” Keep asking further clarifying questions, if necessary, until you get to a specific date and time.
Then ask about format - “did you want that in a paper copy or can I email you the Excel file?”
Keep going with all the elements until you can be sure you can answer the 4 W’s. You may feel like you are annoying them with all the questions, but it pays off when you meet the expectation.