When it comes to letting others know when you need something, stop expecting them to read your mind. You're only wasting everyone's time.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN HERE BEFORE
If you already know what I'm talking about, you've probably found yourself in more than one of the situations below:
• You're working at home, and a friend drops by to say “Hi.” The problem is, you're swamped with projects. You throw hints about deadlines and keep glancing at your laptop -- but they don’t get the message.
• You find yourself asking a colleague if they know of anyone who could help you do something, to give you a hand to trouble shoot an issue. What you REALLY want is for them to offer up their own services.
• You need to raise a performance issue with someone you work with or a member of your staff. You avoid the “real” issue even though you know it's an actual problem that needs to be resolved.
THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THIS
The underlying issue in each of these cases is that you need to ask someone something. But you don't. And although you're being polite, you're not saying what needs to be said -- potentially compromising the quality of your work or your team's performance.
According to this Forbes article by Margie Warrell, sometimes we find it hard say what we really mean. So we drop hints instead.
And since the people around us aren't mind readers, we'll get the wrong end results. Warrell reminds us that when the unspoken or under-communicated request has not been met, we feel frustration, resentment and a sense of being overwhelmed.
So seriously, instead of dropping subtle hints and expecting people to read your mind, ASK FOR WHAT YOU REALLY NEED. Here are just a few examples on how you can let the other person know precisely what you want:
• "Dude, apologies, I’m really swamped and have to get this code checked in today. Let’s catch up this evening. I’m buying ...."
• "I need some help with this project. I'm having some issues that I think you can help me with. Do you have any cycles to spear?"
• "Sam: Things have been going pretty well, but we need to chat about a few items. I'm seeing the same issue pop up every now and then. And I think we should clarify sooner than later. Do you have a few minutes where we can talk?"
Let's face it. You're a professional who is aware of what needs to be done. So asking for what you really need isn’t being rude. It's being efficient.
TRY THIS INSTEAD
The next time you need to ask someone about an issue that affects your work responsibilities, try this: Grab a Wipebook white board notebook.
On the left page, describe the issue and who is involved.
On the opposite page, write what you need to say to that individual.
Then SAY it.
Wipebook: Think. Write. Do.