How to Get What You Need at Work

Image: markus spiske, flickr

What do you need to meet or exceed expectations? If you’re not being handed what you need, and who is, it’s your job to ask for it. Oh the intimidation of asking for what we need! Here’s a cheat sheet:

Privately, at your desk or at home:

  • Define what you need to meet or exceed expectations.
  • Really dig into the Why. Why do you need this?
  • Clarify how what you need might benefit the department and the company, and how it may positively or negatively affect colleagues. This sets up the context of your request.
  • Estimate the expense, if there is one associated.
  • Write down answers to these questions. This is your Compelling Justification.
  • Practice asking for it in front of the mirror or with a trusted friend.

If it still makes sense, then…

At the office:

  • Request 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with your boss.
  • Bring your quick reference notes so you stay on topic.
  • Make sure your tone is quietly confident, not whiny or victim-like.
  • Show how you’ve thought this through completely by stating your Compelling Justification.
  • Sit on your hands, bite your tongue and let your boss process what you’ve just shared.
  • Patiently answer questions. You may have to repeat what you’ve already said. Do NOT say, “What I said was;” take a quiet breath and state it calmly. Your boss hasn’t heard it before and needs to understand the whole picture.
  • Your job right now is to help your boss understand the whole picture, not to convince her to agree with you. If your Compelling Justification is compelling, it will do the work for you.

Congratulations! Job well done.

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