Executive Coaching Articles

Ask For What You Want at Work and Get It

Many people erroneously believe that their company is automatically rigid and inflexible when it comes to dealing with employees and their problems. When they have an issue, their first thought is often leaving, instead of making an effort to work with their company toward a resolution.

While it is true that many companies have a fairly strict set of rules and regulations, there are always exceptions. Don’t just assume that your company isn’t willing to work with you on a mutually satisfactory resolution.

Here’s what to do…

  1. Find Someone You Trust Take some time to find someone in the company you trust. Make an appointment to discuss your needs. People are usually more open to listening when you are respectful of their time, rather than grabbing a minute in the hallway.
  2. Play Devil’s Advocate with Yourself This could be a difficult conversation, so prepare yourself in advance. Do some research so you know the company’s concerns up front. Play devil’s advocate by looking at your position from the company’s point of view. This will prepare you for their arguments. You may even have ideas of your own on how to better meet the company’s needs. This position will greatly increase your chances of getting what you want.
  3. Solve Your Employer’s Problem First Try to understand the rationale behind a company policy. Then look for a solution that satisfies your company’s concern, as well as your own. Acknowledging the company’s position also bolsters your credibility. It demonstrates you’re not just “looking out for yourself,” that you’re determined to find a “win-win” solution.
  4. Be Positive, Flexible and Creative. Be positive, flexible and creative. For example, you might suggest, “Could we try bending the company policy say, for three months, and see how it works out? I’d like to prove to you that I can make it work!”

One Client’s Example:

A client of mine had a job that required her to travel quite a bit. She wanted to have a baby, which, of course, would require a decrease in her traveling. Her first thought was to leave the company. She didn’t think that they would be receptive to a reduced travel schedule. But she prepared what she wanted to say and examined both her position as well as theirs. She gingerly presented her dilemma to the company, and they were more than happy to accommodate her. They valued her as an employee and wanted to keep her employed there. She had seen many of her coworkers, male and female, just leave the company instead of talking about their personal situations and negotiating a better travel schedule. She believes that it comes back to mutual loyalty and commitment. Those who didn’t try to work with their company ended up missing out on a great opportunity to respectfully conduct a win-win solution for all involved.

The bottom line:

If you don’t try to talk to your company, you’ll never know what can happen. You may not get all of your problems solved at first, but you may get at least one, and that’s a great start. You can lay the groundwork for building a long term, loyal, mutually respectful relationship that can be very rewarding to both you and your company.