One of the most common problems in nearly every industry is lack of accountability. How we make requests and keep our promises gets to the heart of accountability and an organization’s overall health. Leaders who master making clear requests and then model this behavior effectively for their direct reports play a critical role in helping their organizations run smoothly.
The art of making an effective request is quite simply one of the most important communication skills a leader can have.
Think about it. How much stress, time and money would you save if those in your organization:
- Made clear requests?
- Kept their promises?
- Were fully accountable for all commitments?
- Allowed others to renegotiate when they couldn’t commit to a request?
- Managed others’ expectations?
- Respectfully and reasonably handled differences of opinion?
Do you do all these things? If you’re a leader, effectively doing these things will help you become a better communicator in your organization. And clear communication is just plain easier in the end.
Elements of an Effective Request
- Communicate a need
- Establish a timeframe
- Specify conditions of satisfaction
Possible Responses to a Request
- Negotiation – “I can, but I just have this to do first…”
Example: “Can you please do X by time Y? How? “Via Z.”
Remember, when making requests state your request clearly, concisely and in a way that people will be able to hear it. Focus on being clear and specific — give details on timing, your expectations, desired outcomes, how you want it to look, etc. Keep it simple and to the point.
There’s a lot to be gained when we improve our skills in making requests and fulfilling promises. Clear, effective requests help build accountability in an organization, and better accountability leads to more trust. And who wouldn’t want more trust in their organization to continue to build a culture of competence, honesty and reliability?