Ten ways to ask

You’ll inevitably need to ask a leader/manager for: resources, help, decisions, or to adjust to your needs. It may be as simple as adjusting your schedule or as complex as dedicating company resources to accomplish a task.

Crafting an effective ask:

#1. Ask in private. Asking with others present complicates issues and lowers the opportunity for candid discussion.

#2. Be brief and direct. Psychologists know that long explanations frequently indicate the person is covering something or trying to manipulate the listener. Savvy leaders can see through manipulation. In addition, they’ll grow impatient when they see you’re wasting their time.

#3. When possible build on personal relationship. I’ve already suggested you avoid manipulation. However, a connection with the boss frequently opens their ear.

#4. Act respectfully. Anger, pride, or rebellion may intimidate a few leaders but most are put off by it. Let the leader know you respect them and their position.

#5. Align requests with organizational values, mission, and vision. Explain your request in terms that enhance rather than hinder the company.

#6. Explain the good. Clearly explain the benefit of saying yes to your request.

#7. Graciously accept no. Anyone can say yes. Leaders learn to say no. If s/he says no, let them know you respect their decision.

#8. Open the door to discussing it further. If your request is rejected get permission to bring it up another time for reconsideration.

#9. Respect the decision making style of the leader. If they are a “muller” don’t press them. If they make snap decisions help them slow down and carefully consider your request.

#10. See the politics involved. Your request may impact others. In addition it may personally impact the boss. Understand if you get what you want others may want it too.


What “asking techniques” can you add?

Do you have a story where you successfully asked?