Asking in the Right Way

Creative step-by-step ways for Leaders to successfully ask people to do stuff without hitting a problem

Leaders spend a lot of time asking people to get stuff done.

But how much time do you put into targeting the way you ask somebody to do something?

And particularly, how much time and attention do you pay to which is the right way to ask that specific person?


Asking someone to get something done in a way that avoids their unconscious barriers and makes the most of their natural predilections is incredibly helpful in maximising opportunities at work and in not discovering when its too late that there’s actually been no progress!

One approach that can easily help is to think about two of the dimensions that have a big impact on people’s behavioural and thinking styles at work:

  1. their preferred Motivational Direction; and
  2. their preferred Operational Mode.

For 1, their preferred Motivational Direction, that simply means do they prefer to:

  • look for goals and opportunities to achieve things (“Towards“); or
  • look for problems to solve or avoid (“Away From“).

For 2, their preferred Operational Mode, that means do they prefer to:

  • develop and create new ways of doing things (“Sponanteous“); or
  • follow established procedures (“Procedural“).

Put these two dimensions together and you’ve already got four possible combinations of how people respond to and think about the world around them. You can see this in the matrix at the top of this post.

The very best leaders already know which preferences their team members have in the way they think about and respond to the world about them. They can then adapt their approach so that when they ask somebody to get something done, HOW they ask also supports them and doesn’t actively get in the way.


Try it yourself.

Think of anything that you need to ask somebody to get done, and see if you can ask it in each of the four ways I’ve outlined in my matrix above.

  • Who do you know at work who would respond well to one of these approaches?
  • Who do you know who would be overwhelmed or annoyed at being asked in the wrong way?

What is your OWN preferred way of being asked – which of those approaches in the matrix would be most persuasive with you?


“Understanding people is much deeper than knowledge. There are many people who know us, but very few who understand us.”
Unknown


Please leave a comment below if they’re still open at the time of reading, or tweet me @nickrobcoach

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