I just watched a rerun of “the office.” On this show, as on TV and in the movies in general, administrators and supervisors are often portrayed as ignorant buffoons who have no idea what they are doing. True confession – there have been times when I have felt that way about those above me on the organizational ladder. I also understand why others might feel that way about me as a supervisor, particularly when they present me with a multidimensional problem that seems to have no good solution.
On the other hand, there are times as an administrator when the answer is clear immediately. My favorite example, and one that I am privileged to experience often in my current role, is when asked for something by someone who I know is very careful about what they ask for, and has a track record of success when given the support they request. This describes many of my colleagues at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. When I receive requests from such colleagues, I don’t ask myself “why should I say Yes” Instead, I ask myself “why would I say No.” On occasion, lack of resources has limited my ability to give a positive response. However, that is the exception and not the rule. Almost without exception, when I say “yes” to such requests, I have not been disappointed.
This is something I have learned over time. Early in my career, there were times when I would scramble to grab all the resources I could get. Now, I am more careful about what I ask for, and to make excellent use of the resources provided to me. The result – when I really need something from my supervisors, the answer to my requests is more often “yes”.
So, when the focus is long-term success, try and only ask for what you need, and be sure you use the resources provided to you effectively. By doing so on a regular basis, the next time you ask for something you need, I would hope your supervisor will be much more likely to “just say yes”
However, be careful if you work in the Cancer Center, have been a good citizen, and interpret this blog as meaning that I will be a softie when it comes to your next request. I might reply as Dunder Mifflin’s Michael Scott from the Office. His response to a request in the rerun I just watched… “Fool me once, strike one, but fool me twice, strike three.”