Ever miss out on a promotion or a role? Not have enough time to get your work done? Have too much to do and not enough help?
These and many other scenarios can make work harder than it needs to be, cause stress, anxiety and sometimes just make the whole work thing seem, unfair.
“How do other people get the resources/time/budget they need?” you may have asked yourself ?
There is a very good chance that the way to get what you need is to ask for it.
Pure and simple!
Only not quite as simple as it sounds because there are a number of steps to get to this point.
1. The first thing is to actually know what you want or need.
This can be anything from being absolutely clear about the next job you want, to how much extra time, money or help you need to complete your work or project. Managers and colleagues are busy too – and just may not have the time to notice that you’re ready for your next promotion or that your workload is unreasonable.
Assume that you are going to need to be proactive in the situation and figure out exactly what it is that you need.
If your workload is too big – consider whether you need someone to help or more time to complete the work? If your problem is related to a tight deadline…can this be moved without jeopardizing the business? If it can – then you probably could ask for more time. If it can’t – you may need to ask for someone to help you.
Know what you want, how much of it you want and when you need it. Knowing exactly what you are asking for will make asking for it easier. Or at least clearer!
2. Explore the options available for getting what you need
Once you know what you need, think through how you can provide the solution for your manager. Anything that makes it as easy as possible for them to provide you with what you need is more likely to be successful than asking for something that creates a problem for them.
If you’re asking for help – can you identify someone in the team or your business who might be available? If you need more budget – check that the money is available or that money could be saved on something else.
3. Let go of your fear of asking
A well thought out request will not hinder your career credibility. Or show your manager that you can’t do your job.
More likely the opposite.
It will show that you have a good understanding of the business and demonstrate that you have thought through the situation from a business perspective.
It’s usually just as important to your manager that your work gets done, on time and of good quality, as it is to you. If they can help you they usually will.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need/want or would like.
4. Pick your moment
When you ask can be as important as what you ask for. If your manager has just got out of back to back meetings and hasn’t had a bathroom break or a coffee for 4 hours – it’s probably not a good time. If they’ve just got off the phone with a cranky customer or had a dressing down from their manager – it’s probably not a good time.
Make sure your manager has enough time to listen and consider your request and in an environment where they can concentrate. Taking them for a coffee or sitting in a quiet area is preferable to bailing them up as they’re running into their next meeting.
Let them know you have something you want to talk about and ask when is a good time for them. It’s respectful of their time and will get you the hearing you need.
Ultimately you have to ask for what you need. Start the conversation by asking for exactly what you want.
And then go back and fill in the detail of why you need it, the alternatives you have considered and the options for the manager of how they could give this to you.
By asking for exactly what you want up front there will be no ambiguity of what the conversation is about.
And there is nothing like asking for money, time or people to help to get the attention of the person you are asking for. Believe me, the “Boss, I need to need to ask you for another 3 people to work on this project for a month” conversation starter is certainly going to lead to a longer discussion and plenty of questions! And “I want to put my hand up for the promotion that’s been advertised”, will, at the the very least, lead to a conversation about the role and your suitability that you may not have had otherwise.
You may not get all of what you ask for, you may not get the promotion then and there, but the worst case scenario is that you will have at least had a chance to demonstrate your thinking and interest in the business. And that can only be good for your career!
Or, you might actually get exactly what you want!
How good would that be?
The Career Tip To Go: Know what you want (or need) at work and ASK for it!
P.S. Try it for something small and get some practise! You’ll be amazed when it works!
Like more career tips to go?