When we fail to provide all of the details involved in a task in which we are seeking assistance, we often set misguided expectations without even realizing it. We are potentially setting ourselves up for failure. An individual isn’t going to perform how you expect if he or she isn’t receiving all the information required to be successful. We tend to “sugar coat” task instructions because of the higher likelihood of it being accepted by a peer. This is not always the best way, and I’ll explain why.

When we are assigned a task or seeking a favor, we are not always honest about what is involved. “Sugar coating” is when you make the amount of work involved seems very minimal, almost effortless. It is a terrible practice and will almost always result negatively. We need to always be upfront and honest when seeking assistance.

“It’s all in your approach”

The way you position the project to the receiver is key. The way you approach someone with a task often decides right away the outcome. We may even find ourselves procrastinating when we know the individual isn’t going to be too fond of what’s involved. If we are sugar coating the work and time involved, we aren’t allowing for proper preparation. Sugar coating will likely lead to possible failure, and frustration with the results. Always ask the right person and be sure to explain the importance of the task. It is also a great idea to periodically check to see if the project is going in the right direction. This ensures the project is progressing how you envisioned.

Like anything else, when we approach with a positive attitude we are more likely to achieve what we seek. If you find yourself procrastinating, think about the positive outcome that will come with completion. Ask for assistance from someone that you work well with and can guarantee great results.

But how?

An example that instantly jumps into mind is when I need assistance with Excel spreadsheets. More often then not, I find myself seeking help from a co-worker. I approach Eric in an upfront manner, usually with a smile. I am sure to tell him exactly what I am looking to have done, and what he should expect. This way Eric will know right away whether or not it is something that he is capable of. Working together to plan and visualize the intended outcome can help clear any cloudiness and misconception. I always make sure that I keep steady contact throughout the days leading up to the project deadline. This helps assure me that the task is progressing and that I can expect positive results from it.

I ignore the fact that I am unable to personally complete the task. I seek assistance from someone I know is capable, but also has the time. I am sure to ask someone who is going to give me great work but will also take instruction well. My approach is always positive, and I am sure to share all details.

Conclusion

When you are approaching someone with a task, always be clear. Be sure to provide details regarding the work involved and the time needed. We tend to find ourselves lacking in detail in order to make the project seem less tedious. Sugar coating often leads to negative results, which can result in disciplinary action in some cases. Always be upfront and thorough about what you need. Do not lack in detail, and be sure to keep yourself updated throughout the process. Promising results will only come if we make sure they are on their way, and track the progression..

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