The Rolling Stones sang, “You can’t always get what you want.” They suggested that if we try sometime, me might get what we need. Have you ever wondered what trying looks like?
Trying isn’t that hard. It might be nothing more than saying what you need. And yet so few of us (me included) do this regularly and clearly.
A couple days ago I was selling some excess stuff from the basement on Craigslist. I struck the deal via email. The guy showed up and asked me to accept less than what we agreed to in our email exchanges.
I knew he wasn’t walking away without the stuff. He drove a fair distance to pick it up. Normally, I’m very comfortable sticking to the price, but this guy specifically asked if I could go lower. Something inside me said, “Give it to him.” So I knocked off another 20%, and we made the deal.
He got it because he asked. If he hadn’t, I’d have $25 more in my pocket. Still, I felt surprisingly good after the deal. Maybe because I contributed to someone else getting his needs met.
At work people are constantly getting on one another’s nerves. One person isn’t fulfilling another’s expectations. And the person whose needs aren’t met gets upset about it.
The problem is that the other person is oblivious to the first person’s needs. He may sense frustration or irritation, but has no clue as to what’s bothering the person. That’s because this person never said what he wanted.
I’m amazed by the amount of time I spend with groups simply helping them talk to each other about what they want and don’t want. Through more than 25 years of organizational experience, I’ve learned that candor can go a long way in creating a better workplace and stronger teams.
So what aren’t you telling your coworkers that they would benefit from knowing? I can’t guarantee they’ll meet your needs, but am quite certain they won’t meet those needs they don’t know about.