You’re going to discover why I would say yes first and learn how later through my career as an administrator and how you can follow the same method to get new and exciting results.
Our knowledge only extends so far, so there will be times when we’re asked to do things that we have not yet had experience doing. The problem in responding to these queries with a “no”… “I can’t do that“ or even worse “that can’t be done” without any experience can result in a couple of things; the requester may try themselves anyway and waste a lot of time in the process, they’ll give up altogether or they may even start to view you as unhelpful but most of all your really losing an opportunity to grow and expand your knowledge and experience.
You may not know what to do or how to do something to provide the support your being asked for but that doesn’t mean that you can’t, won’t or shouldn’t. As a professional, you can certainly do what you do best and provide support. The 5 most valuable guides to follow in this process are;
- Clear Expectations
- Check-in & Closure
Let me expand on these…
Be clear and upfront when you say yes to helping somebody by explaining that you’ve not done that ‘thing’ before or you don’t know how but you’ve got some ideas on how you might be able to find out and help. They can be rest assured that you’ll give it a go to help them on their journey from A to B.
It’s also a very good idea to clearly understand what their ultimate desired outcome. Prevent having to go back and forth by clarifying your understanding of the desired outcome and how much flexibility or scope there is for you to work with. The underpinning driver might help shape this understanding so be sure to ask about that.
Dealing with something that you haven’t done before has the potential to take up a lot of your time so depending on time constraints for yourself and the person requesting help, make sure you touch on timing so this is clear for both parties. You may mention that you have some time tomorrow morning that you can work on it but if it takes longer than an hour to find a solution or deliver the outcome then you’ll let them know how you progressed and go from there.
Be resourceful. Google has always been my ‘go to’ for asking questions to find solutions. Think about your networks…its not always about the how but it might be more important to find the who. It might be a simple case of connecting the requester with someone else who is in a better position to provide the support needed. You can provide amazing support to people simply by connecting them with the most appropriate people for their needs. It is good to know what superpowers people in your network have for when you might need to reach out to them.
- Check-in & Closure
Don’t leave these queries open-ended. Be sure to check back in and give updates on how you’re progressed. It may get to the point where the person requesting the support says not to spend any more time on it, or what you’ve found so far is enough for them to keep working on it. Be clear about when and why you can no longer work on it. Always offer the next step or opportunities that they can explore further.
Be sure that you don’t make promises that you can not keep.
Look at it these times as opportunities to grow, expanding your knowledge and experience. Why not take it one step further and share your new found learning’s with people who may also benefit within your company.
Share in the comments section below the best things you have learnt along the way whilst trying to help someone that you’ve not immediately had the answers for.