I was watching an interview on Sell Like a Human and heard a great question that I thought I would share. But before I do that, I just want to point out this is a great example of something that I love which is reading a book or watching a video and taking one thing from it that you can add to your life. If you are able to do this periodically, making small changes around what you say, the questions you ask, or how you handle situations, you can have a direct impact on driving improvements in both the personal and business areas of your life.

And back to the question that I found valuable from this interview and it is:

Is there anything I can do or not do to make it easier to work with me?


Three Common Assumptions
I found this to be a powerful question to ask because I feel like we usually operate under one of three assumptions when working with others in a business organization.

1. We assume that everything is great.
It can be very common for us to operate in the business world and mask what our true feelings are. In other words, we may be very annoyed by our manager or direct report but we do not show that we are annoyed and act like everything is OK.

When that is the case, if one person does not know that they are annoying the other person, they will not know that they are doing anything wrong or that there is something that they could do better.

2. We assume the changes we make will have a positive result.
In other situations, we may try to improve relationships and work with others by making changes, but the changes we make are not based on any feedback from the other person. In other words, we may know that things could be better and we decide to make changes without any knowledge or feedback from the other person and just assume that we are handling everything the best we can.

The problem with this is that we never really know what is going on in the other person’s head and what their true feelings are. And when that is the case, it could be very likely that your efforts to try to make things better might have minimal or even possibly negative results.

3. We assume there is nothing that we can do to improve the relationship.
Maybe the worst scenario is where you find yourself in a situation where the relationship with a manager or employee is noticeably imperfect and we just assume that there is nothing that can be done to make things better. This is where you think someone doesn’t like you and that there is nothing that you can do to change that.


How this Question Can Help
The question mentioned at the beginning of the post can help to either resolve or improve any of these scenarios based on these benefits:

  • Asking this question is a very diplomatic and constructive way for a manager or employee to open the channel for the communication of feelings and thoughts
  • This question will gather valuable feedback (data) that one might not have if there is never any type of discussion around this area
  • The information discussed can be used for making the changes that have the best chances of improving the working relationship
  • Asking this question enables you to show that you have an interest in improving the relationship

When you add up those benefits, it should be easy to see that you can stand to greatly improve your relationship with someone that you work with by asking one simple question –

Is there anything I can do or not do to make it easier to work with me?