Friday, 3 May 2013

Frequently Asked Pestions and How to Repond to Them

Pestions is my name for questions which are really mechanisms which people use to,avoid work or responsibility or transfer this responsibility to other people.
Here a a few typical Pestions with suggested rebuttals

1. I have a concern, can I share it?
What this means is that the person saying it wants to make their concern your concern so that they can forget about it. The best rebuttal to this is: Yes you can share it but I am first going to ask what you have done about the issue before approaching me and secondly how are WE going to deal with the concern together.

2. Can I tell you something with absolute confidentiality? The best answer to this No or alternatively Yes, provided it does not compromise me ethically or prevent me discharging a responsibility.
People often think they can help with a difficult problem just by giving you information. However, without them being willing to testify to what they  have said it is often impossible to do anything meaningful about these concerns. Really they have solved their conscience by telling someone else but have left the recipient of the information impotent because they can't reveal the source. People in this situation need to be reminded that if they want to make a difference they need to follow through on what they are saying and stand by it.

3. Can I share this great idea I had for .....?
Hidden meaning: I have thought of something new for you to do
Best Response: yes you can share your ide and then I will help YOU to make it a reality. Everyone has ideas but that is only the first step.Doing the work is the hard part.

4. Can you keep me more in the loop about.....?
Usually people are out of the loop on something because they are not contributing to it. Sometimes there is a good for reason for that as they may be busy doing something else. However, it can sometimes be the case that they just want a right to comment on something or a veto without having to do any work.
Best reply. If you want to be in the loop come to the next working group meeting and be prepared to take some tasks away from it.

5. Can I talk to you about something awful that I have just realised .........
Often said by colleagues who on the day before they go on holiday suddenly realise they have a project or something they have neglected. Usually something they want to avoid.
Best rebuttal: Well luckily there are still 3 hours till the office closes and I am sure that the other things in your diary can be postponed till you get back.

The beauty of these rebuttals is that if the matter that is being brought to our attention is frivolous then the other persons  'concerns' will soon evaporate. If on the other hand they are important then you have a sound basis for moving forward WITH the other person and without you being lumbered with all the work.
Let me know if you encounter Pestions, especially ones that aren't on my list and let me know how you deal with them!

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