Workplace Communication Tip – Week 23

“I can’t do that!”

Last week’s tip described the first component of a clear request as one that is “doable.” To make a request doable seems simple enough, until we realize how often our requests are not doable.

A boss saying to a subordinate, “You need to not take things so personally!” may sound on the surface like a reasonable request, but it is not doable. This request leaves out a crucial piece of information – what specific conduct does the boss anticipate would meet his need?

A doable request might be, “The next time you’re getting feedback on your project in the team meeting, would you be willing to reflect back your understanding of the feedback before you react?”

This is a doable request that the boss might make, imagining that this might meet his needs for effectiveness and collaboration.

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Mindful Practice for the Week

In the week ahead, notice the requests you are making. Are they actually doable? If not, how might you rephrase this request so it is doable?