You Should Read This
You’ve go to love co-workers and their unsolicited willingness to help your job. Have you ever spoken to someone about an idea or problem in business and they obviously have the immediate solution? It typically starts with, “You know what you should do?” At this point, you’re already seething because what should I do? What should I do that I haven’t already thought of and you have the magic answer for?
Think about the implications of “should.” When someone tells you what you should do, it implies that they know your job better than you do. As if you haven’t spent waking hours trying to think of a solution to the problem, racking your brain for the best idea to implement. I once was talking to an acquaintance about how to get new clients into my gym. Without fail they said to me, “You know what you should do, a buddy day. You’ll get tons of new clients that way.” Astounding. A buddy day. I haven’t done that for the past 8 years. Ugh. And this acquaintance was sitting across from me so confidently, as if they had given me the secret to MY success.
In the workplace, you should avoid the use of “you should,” (see what I did there?). You don’t want to be the know-it-all coworker who conveniently drops tid-bits of ideas and keeps moving along throughout their day. Instead, if you find yourself needing to share some problem solving solutions, try these alternatives:
- Have you tried …? By posing a question, you give your co-worker the ability to answer for themselves. You give them the stage to explain what they have or haven’t done. It also shows that you care enough to help them without telling them how to do their job.
- I’ve done this in the past and it really worked for me. Show your coworker that you’ve been in his or her position, and that you’ve implemented something in the past that has brought you success. Sympathy and empathy.
- Is there anything I can do to help? Wow. Good, old kindness. Sometimes, it’s best not to offer any tips and just ask if there’s something you can do. In my experience, most of the time that person won’t take you up on the offer, but it’s just nice to know they cared enough to ask.
The next time you perceive a co-worker to be in a bind about something, try to be cognoscente of using the phrase “you should.” Offer help and solutions without being they good-idea fairy, and you’re more than likely to establish more meaningful workplace relationships.