Encouraging admin professionals to ask clearly and directly for what they need is a core strategy for success. In a previous column, I discussed how admins can become Askmasters. Some individuals are very comfortable asking others for what they want, but they’re not Askers. Instead, they’re Takers. Let me describe the difference.
An Asker is an individual who earns the right to ask for what he or she needs to be successful.
For example, Amy has attended a professional networking group for the past year to increase her visibility and advance her career.
She has shown up early for events and worked registration, spent time at meetings developing relationships with key stakeholders, including sending them articles of interest.
She hasn’t asked for anything in return, but heard through the grapevine her influential stakeholder’s company has a position opening up. Amy approaches her contact and asks if she would be willing to make a personal phone call introducing her to the department’s decision-maker.
A Taker, on the other hand, is someone who just expects others to give her what she wants simply because she asks. For example, Terri has been attending the same networking group for about five months, but she locates her like-minded friend, heads to the bar for a cocktail and compares office gossip. She barely makes it to the meetings, nor does she volunteer to help. When Terri gets wind of the position opening up, she walks right up to the stakeholder and says, “I hear there’s a position opening up in your company. Who do you know that might be able to get me an interview?”
An Asker is someone who has done her homework before making her request. When she asks for what she wants, she is prepared and backs up her request with data and facts.
A Taker just takes. She just expects to get what she wants.
An Asker walks away with respect from the individual she approached, and the Taker walks away thinking she won and leaving the giver with a bad taste in his mouth. Know the difference and be an Asker.