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How To Get Your Boss To Agree

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We all expect our boss to agree with us when we present a request, but too often he or she says "no". The problem may not be in what you asked for. Instead, it may be in how you asked for it. Here are the things you need to remember if you want to get your boss to agree.
Time Required: Little more than prep

Here's How:

  1. Do Your Homework
    Figure out what you really want to be the outcome of your request. If you want more staff, don't ask to review the departmental budget. Yes, they are related, but get to the point directly.
  2. Think Like The Boss
    Prepare your request from the boss's perspective. What will matter to him/her? When you were a child, if you asked your parents if you could do something because "all the other kids are" how likely were you to get permission? Instead you came up with an "angle" that you knew would appeal to them. Do the same with your boss.
  3. Be Prepared For "No"
    Your boss may say "no" to your request. Be prepared for that (see #2 above). Figure out ahead of time what objections your boss is likely to raise, and be prepared to counter them with solid reasons.
  4. Ask The Right Question
    Never ask a question that the boss can answer "no". Can you increase my training budget? Is it okay to order the new widget machine? Do you want me to take over that other department? These are all questions that can be answered "no". While it is true that they could be answered "yes", the more likely response from a typically risk-adverse boss will be "no".
  5. Ask The Question In The Right Way
    Ask your question in a way that presumes your boss has already agreed. Instead of, "Can you increase my training budget?" ask the boss "How much will you be able to increase my training budget so I can meet the product knowledge goals we set for the department?"
  6. Accept It And Regroup
    As well as you follow these steps, your boss may still say "no" even after you have countered all the expected objections per step #3 above. The boss may know something you don't know. He/she may have plans of which you are unaware and the boss may choose to not tell you about them. That's when it's time to thank your boss for listening to you and considering your request and that walk away. Keep you chin up. You did your best. Learn from it and come back stronger, and better prepared, next time.
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