We make requests of our Direct Reports all the time, but we don’t always get back what we requested. Have you ever thought that maybe it was because you didn’t know how to make the request?
When you make a request, talk about what you want, not about what you don’t want. Then provide a compelling reason using the word “because”. Actually, the reason doesn’t have to be hugely compelling, you just need to show that you have a reason for making the request. People want to know where you are coming from and that you aren’t acting unreasonably.
I was on a coaching call with an executive client who wanted to draw out one of her employees to be more vocal and opinionated in meetings, but it wasn’t working.
I asked her, “Why is that important to you? If she were more opinionated, what would you get?”
“Well,” she said, “I welcome different opinions and push-back because I think that it helps us make sure that our ideas are stronger. I want people to disagree with me because they might see something that I missed.”
“Okay, great.” I said. “How have you asked her to do that? What specifically have you said when you requested that she be more vocal?”
“I just said, ‘hey, I really want to hear you opinions. Don’t be afraid to share. I want to know what you think.’”
“And what did she say?”
“She said, ‘ok.’ That was it.”
“Okay, here’s the deal.” I said. I was excited because I knew this would be a quick and easy fix with solid results. “Your request was very clear. What you asked of her made sense, so that isn’t our problem. What I didn’t hear from your request is the why. She might not understand why being vocal is important to you. She doesn’t see the reasoning behind the request. Remember when I talked about the power of ‘because’? You didn’t have a ‘because’ in your request. So, next time, be sure to tell her exactly what you told me with the ‘why’ by saying ‘because’.”
It was a great A-ha! moment. When you make a request, make sure the other person understands the reasoning behind the request.
When you find yourself coming up against a boundary and you need to make a request, take a moment and ask yourself, why is this important? Then use the magic word, “because”, the next time you talk to the person. This one word will help you become much more influential.
You might see a little a-ha moment of your own when they say, “Oh! I didn’t know that! Okay, no problem.”
If you would like more tips on how to get the best from your Direct Reports, then download my free Magnetic Influence Litmus Test where I share 4 simple questions you can ask yourself to predict your ability to influence, and how to gain that influence.