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Getting Cooperation: The Art of the Ask

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Getting to Yes

Is it difficult for you to ask your team members to do something, for fear of sounding like you are demanding it? It may be easy to ask when you know someone well, but what if you are on a team with people you do not know, do you do it all yourself?

Getting people to do things you want them to do is part of the “influence” leaders want to develop. In this lesson we are talking about gaining cooperation which is taking your influence to a new dimension. Taking a mindful approach with your followers, when asking for their cooperation will help you build trust and deepen relationships at work. This is the beginning of working as a team.

3 Elements of Asking

1. Stated in the Positive

When making a request, state what you want rather than what you want to avoid.  In other words, frame your request in terms of the outcome you hope to achieve, rather than an outcome you want to prevent from happening.

Examples:

Please talk in low voice in this room.  versus  Please do not shout in this room.

We have a standard of civility and respect. versus We do not tolerate bullying.

Are you willing to work for 2 additional hours and complete the report, to meet our deadline? versus I need you to work extra or we will miss our deadline.

 

2. Be Specific

When making a request, state what you want rather than what you want to avoid.  In other words, frame your request in terms of the outcome you hope to achieve, rather than an outcome you want to prevent from happening.

Examples:

I’d like you to tell me one thing that I did that you appreciate.  versus  I want you to appreciate me.

Would you be willing to meet for lunch once a week?  versus I’d like to get to know you better.

Would you agree to knock before you enter my office?  versus  I need you to show more respect for my privacy.

3. Engaging

When you demand something, or ask without engaging the person first, you are perceived as being coercive or manipulative. The person loses options to respond and will either resist or submit. The person being asked responds to the tone they perceive based on your words; people dislike demands because it threatens their basic need of autonomy. This is not good for long term cooperation.

Using guilt, blame and shame are negative ways to coerce and manipulate, these tactics make work once, but will always backfire over the long term.

Examples:

Would you be willing to help me prepare this presentation? versus  I need you to help me prepare this presentation. 

Engage the person in the request by offering a choice; include encouragement and support for the specific request.

I would love your help with this because of your expertise, would you be willing to help me? versus I am late and need your help.

 

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