Sometimes we feel so strongly about something we want for ourselves in our work lives, that we assume we’ve been more than clear about it to those around us. Whether it’s a promotion, a raise, or your prospective client’s business, how could people not know that we’d love to have those things? Heck, we may feel we’ve been downright obvious about it! But chances are that you haven’t actually communicated as clearly as you think.


In this article from Forbes, J. Maureen Henderson talks about 5 things to keep in mind in communicating what you want at work. It’s a good, short read in which she proposes, among other things, that you should be explicit in talking about what you want and that you should frame your desires in terms of how they affect the person you’re communicating with. Good advice on making your messages land!


The one item in Henderson’s list that resonated the most with me related to taking risks in expressing opinions. Often at work, we take pains to come across as anything but objectionable. But when we withhold expressing opinions and preferences about what we’d really like to see happen, we may be doing more than just trying to avoid being objectionable. We may be acting out of a fear of rejection. After all, what if we express our opinion or preference and people don’t like it? Or what if they disagree? What would that mean about us? As Henderson suggests, get comfortable with taking these types of risks, and improve your chances that people will know what you want.


This week, as you get started on the new year, consider how you might be more clear and more vocal about what you’d love to see happen in your work life. If you’re hesitant about expressing your desires, ask yourself what you’re protecting yourself against. It may be that the risks you’re guarding against may not be as big as you think. And if you can manage to express yourself assertively and clearly at work, you’re much more likely to get what you want this year.


Best wishes for 2018!


Guillermo Villar is principal coach with Cambio Coaching. He helps high-achieving individuals and teams communicate with intention to get the business results they want. If you’re interested in working with Guillermo, sign up for a free meeting to explore how he can help.