When you need to ask others to change behavior that is adversely affecting your work, follow this advice:
- Don’t assume. It’s easy to believe that the person is intentionally frustrating you. However, he or she may be clueless about the impact. Don’t accuse, ask.
- Respond quickly. The sooner you raise an issue, the easier it will be to resolve.
- Address issues privately. That creates a collaborative—not confrontational—atmosphere.
- Make a request. People are more likely to fulfil a politely worded request: “I’d like your assistance in improving the work flow.”
- Provide context. Describe the behavior’s impact in objective terms: “You submitted 20 orders for approval on Friday afternoon, which required me to work overtime to process them.”
- Be specific. Leave no doubt about the change you want: “Please submit your orders no later than noon on Thursday each week.”
— Adapted from Nice Teams Finish Last, Brian Cole Miller, AMACOM, www.amanet.org/books.