Ladies, when was the last time you asked for something you needed at work? How prepared were you for the conversation? What were you expecting as the outcome?
Sometimes, women have a really hard time asking for what they want and need. Why is this such a problem? Why do we have a hard time asking for what we need from our employers?
Over the years, I’ve talked with a lot of working women who have felt stuck with their careers and not sure how they got into that position. As we dug into the problems, situations, team dynamics and management, the results were maddeningly consistent: These women didn’t ask for what they needed from their employer.
Why didn’t they ask?
Upon further investigation of these women’s careers, there was another consistent story of the women not knowing what they want for their career and subsequently didn’t know what to ask their employer – let alone how to ask for what they needed.
It’s no wonder that most women don’t ask for what they need from their employer when the women don’t know what they need anyhow! How on earth is an employer supposed to help you, if you first don’t know what you’re aiming toward?
Let’s change this because special requests in the workplace can be win-win situation – especially IF you’re prepared for the conversation. Here are some tips for preparing for the conversation:
1) Start with the end in mind. Stephen R. Covey wasn’t kidding when he made that his first of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. If everyone on the planet began anything with the end in mind, we’d all be better off! So, spend some time thinking about what an ideal work situation would be for you. Put it down in writing and be clear about the specifics. The clearer you are about the specifics, the more effectively you’ll communicate with your employer about what you need help with.
2) Discuss the plan with your applicable family members. Make sure you’re perfectly clear about what the family situation requires. It would be terrible to ask your employer for special needs and then receive help that doesn’t meet your needs.
3) Take a week to digest your plan. Often people will throw together a last minute plan and then rush into the meeting with the manager. But, if you’re going to ask for some specific requests, you’ll want to prepare ahead of time! Do wait a week, review your plan again. Make changes and then proceed.
4) Make an appointment with your manager at a time you know is good for him or her. If the best time of day is first thing, then have the appointment then. Don’t ask for a 15 minute meeting; ask for at least 30 minutes so that you have enough of the manager’s time to bring clarity about your situation.
5) Go into the meeting with two best case scenarios that will work for you. When you identify a problem with a work process, you should also present a viable solution. Every good boss in the world loves it when their employees bring solutions to the problems. So, be prepared with two really good solutions that will give your manager some flexibility in choosing, but also eliminates the need for the manager to come up with a solution. They’ll appreciate that you are on the ball! This will help you achieve a win-win outcome.
Jesus teaching in his famous parabolic style told his disciples in Matthew 21:22: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Applying to our modern day lives, I think he would say to us, “Ponder, plan, prepare, and then ask… Ultimately, you’ll be rewarded with what you want and need.”
How are you asking for what you need in the workplace?