Q. I find that I often ask repeatedly for things in the workplace without results. I follow your advice about being specific and behavioral, but it doesn't help. What am I missing?
A. What you are missing is ... leverage. You are ahead of most people on being effective because you know you have to be specific and list behavior. However, without using solid leverage, what you say will go in one ear and out the other with your coworkers.
Some of my clients get huffy about having to use other people's agendas to motivate and influence. They think people should help them because it is the right or responsible thing to do.
These same clients are perpetually disappointed in others until they trade in their ideals for a realistic viewpoint. Many of us may think that selfish is a dirty word but selfishness and personal goals are the keys to motivating your coworkers. If you get too busy being upset about this fact, you'll never get the results you seek.
When the people go to work, they bring all their personal values and professional ambitions to their cubicle. To be effective, you have to be able to know and read your coworkers goals and especially their emotional agendas.
Try this exercise if you want to get what you want at work:
1) Write down a result you want at work.
2) Make sure you can see this result on a video screen (list behavior and specifics).
3) Write down the reason your result is important to you.
4) Write down all the reasons you think the result should be important to your coworker.
5) Now write down all your guesses about the ways this result will benefit your coworker, especially emotionally.
After you've written down this list, take a black marker and draw a line through No. 3 and No. 4 -- because they don't matter. Never in workplace negotiation blather on about how a request benefits you (no one cares). You can also skip the part where you lecture others about why your goals should matter to them (you'll only make them mad).
Navigating workplace relationships is a lot like dealing with any law of nature. You may not agree with or like gravity, hurricanes or riptides, but if you argue with Mother Nature, she will win anyway.
Remember: In evolution, adaptability allows a species to survive. If you enter the workplace insisting people conform to your viewpoint, all your energy will go into fighting human nature. Once you work with and not against nature, you can put your energy into thriving at your job!
The last word(s)
Q. I have a friend at work who always insists on getting into conflicts to prove he is right. Is there any way to point out he is ruining his career?
A. No, he has signed up for an education with the School of Hard Knocks. Numerous bad experiences will have to be his teacher.
(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)
Want leverage? Stop asking 'Pretty please'
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