Get to ‘Yes’
Category : PROspective
A lot has been written about the importance of saying “no.” The idea is to protect one’s professional time to be sure that it is mostly spent on the work most important to one’s self. Although there is merit in this mindset, taking it to its limit would make for a pretty miserable existence. How would it feel to work in a setting where no one ever agreed to help anyone else?
This weeks’ PROspective article offers suggestions for how to improve the chances a coworker will say “yes” when you ask for help. The first two suggestions are probably most relevant, especially early in a career: ask in person, and offer something in return. These two principles rest on fundamentals of human interactions. People are more likely to agree to help when asked in person, not by text, email, or telephone. In addition, offering something in return shows respect for the other person’s time and effort.
If you click through to one of the article’s links, you will find that humans feel a universal tendency “to repay or reciprocate when given a gift whether it has come in the form of a material object, a kind deed, or an act of generosity.” Its especially true when this interaction takes place in person. Taking too much advantage of this tendency can lead to unwarranted manipulation, so also a pretty miserable existence. Getting right this “dance of reciprocal giving and receiving” is important for all highly successful relationships, including those in the workplace.