Stop Whining and Ask For What You Want!

When you want something, the best way to get it is to make your request in a straightforward and positive way. You should not expect your boss or co-workers to read your mind and know what your expectations and desires are. Nor should you brood about the fact that someone else has not recognized what you think is obvious to everyone.

If it is important to you and you really want it, then bring it to your boss' attention. Here are 8 steps you can take to get your requests granted at work.

How to Succeed at Getting What You Want at Work

  • Think through your request. Spend some time planning and/or writing what you will say, how you will say it and any anticipated reactions (positive or negative) to your request.
  • Describe the WIFT (What's In It for Them). Articulate the value of your desired outcome, any benefits that will result, mistakes that will be avoided, or money that will be saved by granting your request.
  • Be prepared with at least one viable alternative. You should have at least two possible ways your request can be granted-the most desirable solution, and another solution that you could accept. Only offer your alternative solution if it is clear that your original request will not be granted.
  • Choose constructive and affirmative words to make your request. When asking for something at work, most people tend to start their sentences with negative phrase followed by a but and finally ending with the request. In almost every instance where this is done, the request is not granted.
  • Make your request simple, concise and direct. Simple to grant, brief and to the point, sincere and straightforward.
  • Find the right time. Timing is very important. Be alert to your boss' moods, and when he or she may be under a great deal of stress. Avoid making a request when a major deadline is due or you've just made a mistake. Watch your personal timing as well. Steer clear of those times when you are feeling low or overly excited.
  • Select the right person to grant your request. Make sure that you ask the right person--the one who has the authority to give you what you desire.
  • Show appreciation. Once your request has been granted, show your appreciation by saying, thank you. Even if it's not your desired outcome, still show your appreciation for what you did receive.
  • Let's face it, you will not always get what you want, but you may regret it if you don't try. Don't be afraid of a negative response. If it is important enough for you to ask for it, then do some more homework and try again at a more opportune time.

    It's essential to keep a positive attitude, balanced perspective, and a high level of performance whether or not you get what you want on the job. Once a decision is made, if it is not your desired outcome, you should accept it and refrain from whining and complaining. As you do this, you demonstrate professional maturity--a very attractive competency indeed!

    Althea DeBrule, entrepreneur and seasoned human resources executive, has focused for more than 30 years on helping people achieve their career goals. Creator of The Extreme-Career-Makeover? and a founding partner of RADSGroup Organizational Consultants, she is recognized for her bottom line and practical application of career development and management strategies in a way that penetrates hearts and compels action. She speaks and teaches with inspired talent, humor and contagious zeal at management conferences and leadership retreats nationwide, and has been featured in CFO Magazine, Strategy@Work, Human Resource Executive Magazine. Althea is the author of Bosses & Orchards, a compelling and candid book about how to make your work relationship with your boss succeed. To discover how you can take your career to a new level, visit

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