“Failing to ask effectively for what we want is the stuff of low-grade irritation that, over time, can become a source of chronic conflict and tension.” Conflict resolution expert Tammi Lenski made this observation in a recent post to her blog. And it really resonated with me.
Often in our work, we encounter association staff members who are quite frustrated with the technology they are using to do their jobs. One source of this frustration is that they have not been given or feel they have a mechanism for expressing what they want and need from the technology their organizations implement. When selecting an AMS or other technology solution, we always recommend that associations conduct a thorough review of staff’s needs and pain points. You can learn more about that process by reviewing our guide on “How to Choose Association Software.”
Aside from creating a culture where people feel like it’s okay to ask for what they want, individuals themselves must become comfortable with the idea. Lenski identifies the main reasons people fail to ask for what they want. According to her, sometimes we fail to ask others for what we want because
- We don’t want to put someone out.
- We fear they’ll say no or judge us.
- We expect they’ll take care of us.
- We expect them to read our minds and already know what we want or need.
Any of these rationales can ultimately lead to conflict because as Lenski emphasizes “the ability to ask for what we want—directly, confidently, and without aggression or manipulation—is an important factor in preventing and resolving conflict at work and home.”
To be more persuasive in making requests, her best advice is to keep your ask simple and straightforward. So think about what could be preventing you from asking what you want. Whether it’s regarding technology or some other aspect of your work, not asking will only lead to conflict.