How to Get What You Want at Work
Posted October 7, 2011on:
Kuhnke Communication’s Top Tips for How to Get What You Want at Work
1. Understand your listener. Does she seek detail or is she a big picture thinker? Analytical or more of a drama queen? Does she like a bit of social chit chat or does she prefer to get down to business. By knowing her preferred style of communicating you’re able to adapt yours to match hers.
2. Treat your listener with respect. Aim to understand her issues so that you can position your request in a way that supports her and her goals.
3. Find out what matters to the person in charge. When you give someone what she wants, she relaxes and comes on board with you.
4. Know what you want. Often people know what they don’t want and when it comes to asking for what they DO want they struggle. If you struggle, the person holding the power or authority for granting you your wishes will struggle to know what you want, too. If you find it hard to figure out what you want, write down your thoughts. If you can identify what you don’t want, flip the coin and say what you want instead. For example, if you don’t want tension between colleagues rephrase your wording to something like, “I want a buzzy, productive environment where people value and respect one another’s efforts.” Saying what you want focuses your attention and gives you something to aim for. Once you know what you want, you can figure out the necessary steps to get there.
5. Call in favours. People are more inclined to help you if you’ve done something for them. Develop a network of obligation you can call on.
6. Find points of agreement. Listen to what really matters to the person who holds the power. If he’s rejecting your request, find out what lies behind his objection. Emphasise all points of agreement before suggesting a solution that meets their needs and satisfies your own.
7. Find common ground. People who have things in common with you are inclined to grant your request. Find out as much as you can about someone you’re negotiating with so you can establish personal links before making your request.
8. Establish your credibility. You are more likely to get others to respond positively to your requests if they think you’re an expert in your field.
9. Commit to what you want. If you know that you want to work flexible hours, for example, and your company doesn’t have a policy in place, offer to run a feasibility study and report your findings. No one ever said getting what you want would be easy! And if you want something badly enough, then you’ll let nothing, or nobody, get in your way.
10. Prove your worth. If you want to be taken seriously, behave in a serious fashion. Showing up late, handing in sloppy work or spending more time gossiping than being productive makes people think twice before granting your requests.
11. Point out the pain. Research shows that people are more influenced by the idea of losing something than by the idea of gaining the same thing. When you’re making your proposal, point out what the company has to lose if it doesn’t grant your request.
12. Claim your space. If you come across all humble and apologetic, no one’s going to feel inclined to give you what you want. There’s nothing wrong with asserting what you want. Avoid arrogance and apologies and aim for assertiveness.
13. Move with purpose. Pussy footing around, shuffling your feet and playing with your pen endears you to no one. When you’re asking for what you want, look the other person in the eye, tell him what you want and give him time to respond.
14. Be prepared. Have your arguments in place for supporting your request. If you want a raise, for example, be prepared to demonstrate how your efforts have improved the bottom line. “As a result of my efforts implementing the marketing plan, we are 30% up on last year’s sales figures.”
15. Give yourself positive messages. If you’re all worried that you’re not going to get what you want, if you think that you or your requests are going to be rejected, if you fail to believe in your worth, you’re never going to get what you want. Fill yourself with positive messages. Treat yourself as if you were your best friend. Remind yourself of your strengths and what you’re good at and the reasons you deserve to get what you want. (Cage the Parrot!)
16. Develop self-awareness. The more you know about yourself – your values, beliefs, motivators and attitudes – and how these and your behaviour impacts on others, the more able you are to present yourself in a way that is true to who you are in a way that appeals to your listener (see 1. Above)
17. Negotiate in increments. Because people tend to avoid change and taking risks, find ways of breaking down the process into small steps. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Address her issues and plot a course which can what you want – if not immediately, then in the future.
18. Frame your proposal. For example, if you want to work in a different part of the organisation from where you currently are, make the case that what you’d learn there will make you more proficient in your current job. As long as you’re doing what you were hired to do, few managers will complain when you want to take on extra work in another part of the company. Once you’ve gotten into the area where you want to be, volunteer to join task forces or take on projects others might not have time to handle. Be prepared to explain to your current boss how the activities relate to the job you have now. When the chance for you to make the transfer comes up, you’ll be ready and the idea won’t be such a shock for your boss.
19. Show willingness. Go the extra mile. Put in the time and effort. Demonstrate that you’re reliable, dependable and worthy of your request.
In today’s work environment urgency rules the roost, more is being done by fewer, and resources are guarded. Knowing what you want and going out and getting it is vital if you want to get ahead. Colleagues and competitors are biting at your heels, waiting for you to slip and stumble, and are prepared to pick up the baton and run with it, leaving you in their dust. By knowing what you want and having the courage to go for it, you gain credibility and enhance your career prospects.
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