Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Polite, Pleasant, Persistent

Today, I got to talk to one of my colleagues who has joined me recently. He was very upset at the fact that I keep giving him work, before he gets to complete the first one.

Our discussion continued as follows:

me: I like people who close the loop. Having too many things in plate and just showing the first work is not acceptable. I have given feedback after my review on past 2 occasions and you have not shown progress on those assignment.

Colleague: How am I to take up past work, when a new work comes my way ? This is out of context as I have come to you for review of the third assignment.

me: I am wondering what you will do to my feedback on this one. I cant help imagining that you will be onto something else and forget this one.

Colleague: How do you think I can cope with the multiple work you give me. I am sincere, coming to office, staying late to finish what you tell me to.

me: My dear, adaptability is the key. I do not give 3 work at once. There is time gap between first and second. What you do in the time gap is the solution.

Colleague: Are you telling me, I am not doing my job.

me: hmm. all I want to say, getting one step ahead is important. When I give you second assignment, you should be able to give me the first assignment for my review. When you submit the second one for review, you should get working on first assignment review. When I give you third one, you should be able to submit the first for review.

Doing this, who has more work on their plate ?

Colleague: .......

me: What is on your mind?

Colleague: I come asking for help and you seem to be too busy. Hence I have got to do lot of work, before I get to understand what you want.

me: That is typical of any manager. If things are priority for you, I am sureyou will seek to find me free and ask me for help, at any cost. When I turn you off, it is first impression for me to judge, how good you are as a professional. A good professional will resist urge to do hard work and seek help at any cost.

Colleague: Wouldn't you then perceive me as a hard nosed selfish guy who overrides or cares less of others to get his job done. Would you talk to me, which is already a trickle for me.

me: You are right. I am wary to entertain such people. It is all in the personality. You need to be polite, patient and yet persistent. It is a skill that you need to develop for getting to next level you have asked me in earlier occasions.

Colleague: Hmm. let me try. But how all 3 are possible still looks crazy like you :) to me. Do you have an example up your sleeve ?

me: hehehe. Let me try cooking up something for you.

Polite: "Can I have a time from you. I need your advice on the assignment I am working on."

Pleasant: Catching me near water cooler - "Atlast I got to get a glimpse of you. What keeps you busy these days?" After answer empathize. "A gentle request: I hope you remember my request earlier ? Let me know whenever you can spend a few minutes."

Persistent: Repeat above at intervals that are not obstrusive enough and till you get the audience. Like, after a couple of days, "I know you are leaving and looking tired ? Can I meet you first thing in morning, to clear myself from your way. This intermediate time has give me more clarity, but I still feel I need help."

How many times, have you accomplished more than expectation by being polite, pleasant and persistent. Haven't they become your fans and grant you first right of disturbance when you need them later?

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