In the two previous blogs on this subject, I suggested you do a true “heart search” to determine your real reasons for wanting to push back and say, “No” to a new project request being made. It’s important to read the first two. If not, you may be making a big mistake that you may certainly regret in the morning!
There are several totally acceptable reasons to say, “No.” If You don’t have the expertise to do a certain project, or it doesn’t fall within the scope of responsibility for your department, while you may not be doing the actual project yourself, don’t be quick to turn them down. Working collaboratively through other departments to get them to the right person/department will show you as a person who gets things done and “is connected.”
If you aren’t sure who it should go to, ask a manager, or someone in a position higher than yours, if they know a contact in the right department. This is not to be confused with someone who comes to you that you’ve never supported before. If what they are asking for DOES fall, even loosely, in your area, helping them will open great new doors for you and help to spread your great reputation.
After all this is said and done, it’s not in your department’s area, you don’t have the skills, and your leadership has said not to pursue this, how you turn them down should be “gently,” and with “Finesse.” How you say, “No” should also very and change depending upon the reason you are turning them down.
In the last installment, I shared an example how to respond if there’s too much on your plate (along with the qualifiers mentioned in that blog). If it’s because it’s not your department, be a great contact and addition to their network, “I can see how that would make a really positive impact. I can help (remember, it’s not what you CAN’T do it’s what you CAN) get you to the people that have the experience and information you need to make that happen. While it may seem that our department would do that actually, it’s “X” that can help.” Then find the right person and make the introduction.
More examples and help at…
Etc. Executive Training and Coaching
Barbara Teicher – 913-707-5826
In the first installment of this blog, I shared that you need to make sure of several things before you decide to push back to a request and say, “No.” First, make sure you’re not saying it because you just don’t want to do it and you’re feeling a little stressed. If you’ve seen earlier blogs of mine, we’ve talked about the “new normal.” In the new normal companies need to get more accomplished with less resources. If everyone else is also running at the speed of sound, doing more and working more across departments, you may need to take a deep breath, put on a smile and, as the saying goes, “Just Do It.” If that’s not the case, read on…
The second consideration was a request from a new department at the leadership level that hasn’t reached out to you before. This is a great opportunity to get yourself noticed for all the right reasons. Even if you aren’t the person who can help, the fact they came to you is great. Let them know you’ll find out how to make it happen for them. Find out who has the subject matter expertise to help and be the catalyst to introduce them and help it move forward.
For all other cases, if you seem to be the one balancing all the plates while the rest of the team seems to be sitting back and eating off them… this is for you.
The next new request that comes through from your direct manager or leadership, after considerations from my first blog have been asked, would be to say, without attitude or sarcasm, “I’m more than happy to take that on.” I have “X” projects that are in process right now. It sounds like this is something different. With the deadlines on those you’ve given me, I’ll either need to extend deadlines or put at least one of those on hold. Which one would you like me to set a side for a few weeks? If they share there isn’t one that can wait, look for installment three of this blog next week for ways to say “No,” withe finesse, without ruining your career.
“It’s HOW You Say It”
Barbara Teicher 913-707-5826
In an effort to do the right thing, many agents and customer service representatives try to reinforce why a customer can’t have or do something because it goes against “our policy.” Remember, customers don’t care about “your policy.” They care about themselves and their needs. Can you get the message across without having them leave frustrated and angry… of course. ”It’s HOW You Say It.”
Turning the proverbial “lemons into lemonade” isn’t as hard as it sounds. For instance, when someone wants to return an item to a retail shop that is clearly months older than the two week return policy states, and they don’t have a receipt, it may even appear as it came from the competition, what to do? Not to worry. There is a way to position it. It’s not what just what you say, “It’s HOW You Say It.”
Concentrate on what you “can do” for them and not what you can’t do, or what they can’t have.
Learn more – Barbara Teicher – 913-707-5826
I often see people in the work place, both at the individual contributor as well as management and leadership levels, so stressed out. They tell me they have too much on their plates and they’re overloaded. When I suggest they say, “No” when given additional responsibilities, they laugh and tell me that’s not possible. Actually, it’s very possible. It’s not just saying, “No.” It’s HOW You Say It!
When done correctly, pushing back on an internal request shouldn’t give the impression you’re not a team player, you’re trying to be difficult or you’ve decided to cut your time in this position short and you’re heading for the exit. As a matter-of-fact, when done correctly, the impression should be just the opposite. The person you’re dealing with should walk away with a renewed sense of your professionalism, dedication and the quality of your efforts.
So how do you make that happen? Actually, there are several steps to this. The first one, is to make sure the concerns above aren’t true. Look objectively at your work load. Can you handle additional responsibilities and just don’t want to? That’s an entirely different conversation. Listen to everything the person making the request is asking. Do you understand what the all deliverables are? Do you know what the resources available to you are? Or are YOU the resource? What is the level of the person making the request from a prioritization standpoint? Are they aware of other projects you have? Are there similarities between this and something else you’re already working on or about to work on?
Another thing to consider is this: Are they someone who is reaching out for the first time to you and you don’t have a rapport built with this person/department? Make sure if you’re considering ”No” as your answer, there isn’t a way they can bring the request to you and yet you can have it accomplished thorough another group who actually has this responsibility. Having them feel they can always come to you to get something done, whether you are the one actually making it happen or not, tells this person you are someone who can be counted on, always. If that’s the case, not only will they think of you when work is needed, they’ll also think of you when opportunities for advancement present themselves as well.
So, this is the first step. Check in again before the end of the month for step two!
Who Were Your Heroes … or “She” roes?
Most people, as they were growing up, had someone they looked up to and aspired to be like. It may have been a coach, a teacher, someone from church or even a parent.
Think about who you looked up to while you were growing up. Think of the impact this person/people had on your life. If you were to sit down and write a list of words that described them what would the list be? Take a minute and create this list.
Once you’ve made the list, take a second to look at it and think about this. If I were to ask your work group to describe you, would they use any of these same words? If not, why not?
Everyone has a legacy they leave behind in their workgroup. As a leader, what do you want your legacy to be? You don’t have to have a title that says you’re in management to be considered a leader. Most of the time, your legacy has more to do with the person you are, rather than the things you’ve accomplished. How did you treat people? Was that consistent or only to people that could help your career?
What does it take to create your legacy so that you can BE the person you want others to think you already ARE?
Ask about the seminar that helps bring out the true “leader” in you. “It’s Not Just What You Say, It’s HOW You Say It.”
Contact Etc. Executive Training and Coaching – (913) 707-5826
Leadership in the New Normal
One of the many challenges facing leadership in the new normal is determining the difference between how you actually work with people reporting to you and, at the same time, building the bench and equipping these same managers for success.
In the new normal, resources are scarce and the best succession plans seem to be blown up as one organizational change leads to another. How do you build stability? As it turns out, the best way to do this will actually be the best for your own work environment too.
In this environment where knowledge is king, don’t be afraid to share it. The old “kingdoms” need to fall. It’s imperative that leadership from varying work groups, whether intact, or spread through different organizations, or locations understand exactly what the responsibilities of other groups are. This is not to say a group has a finite list of responsibilities…that is definitely NOT the way things operate in the new normal. Rather, you have a general field of responsibility usually handled by a certain department. Anyone in that department, manager or not, should either be able to handle that responsibility or, just as important, be able to steer someone to the resource that could help with that.
As a leader the best thing to do is ensure you are connected to other organizations. Do you understand their responsibilities, how your group works with theirs, supports theirs and vice versa? Often, years long feuds have survived due to lack of communication and the determination to hold onto knowledge and, ultimately, a perception of power.
Become emersed in building the bench strength of your group. Do you still operate under the hold of a SME (subject matter expert) who is the only person in your area with needed information? As people move in and out, what is your plan for replacing the knowledge they represent? Do you even have a plan? As the organization goes through RE organization it’s important to have a plan in place. It will be used often because this will continue to be… the new normal.
The New Normal also has New Management – Part Two (of three)
Managing in the new normal is also a new experience. Nothing is as it was.
This new normal is for people that find themselves still in management. In the new normal, just because you previously held a management position doesn’t mean you will find yourself at that same level in the new environment. Many directors are now feeling the effects of a flattening organization. The good news is, they are still a vital part of the company. The challenge is, they aren’t really sure what the company is these days.
In the new normal, if you are still a member of the management ranks, you may find yourself managing an intact workgroup where you are only somewhat familiar with their total functional goals and an individual position’s responsibilities. They may be comprised of work groups that work remotely, or may even be located out of your geographic location all together (Ask about our seminar “How to Manage and Motivate Remote Teams).
In many cases you are managing in a matrix situation. This meaning that you may have responsibility for people that report up through a different division or group although work collaboratively with people from your organization or division. In this environment, it is also very common for people within these workgroups to be uncertain of the environment, the security of their positions and may have been thrust into new areas of responsibility that are new to them.
As mentioned in part one of this series of three, in “the old days” many companies brought in people known for their expertise in a certain area. They may have functioned as a manager in an environment where they were the SME (subject matter expert). In the new normal, many of these same managers find themselves as individual contributors, no longer members of the management ranks. They are often one of many now reporting up through someone responsible for a group that may be twice the size of the one they had before. How do you respond to the challenges that brings?
In Part Three of this series, we’ll take a look at Leadership in The New Normal.
For more information, please contact (913) 707-5826 Barbara@BarbaraTeicherEtc.com