This writing is excerpted from the Skills for Change Cooperative Communication course I teach online. Learn more here.

Asking for What You Want in a Hierarchy

Just because we are in a hierarchy, doesn’t mean we can’t ask for what we want. Often, leaders are happy to hear suggestions, offers, and other requests especially when the asker acknowledges the power structure.

“I know you will make a final decision that takes lots of variables into account, and I trust that you are doing your best to hold the whole while taking care of the parts. I thought if I explained my point of view and what I see, that it might help you make a more informed decision about my part of the business. And perhaps you can explain to me what contribution you’d like to see from me and my team in the coming months.”

“I know you are probably trying to keep expenses low or none while maintaining the building and the landscape, and I respect that there are lots of things you take care of that I don’t see, but get the benefit of on a daily basis. Thank you for all of your work. I’d like to share some ideas I and my roommates have for improving our apartment and hear how you usually like to see these kinds of improvements made, what works and what doesn’t work for you, and how I can be a great tenant for your apartment.”

Trust Formula from Nancy Shanteau's Trust-Building Worksheet. Illustrations by Patrick Stein.

Get Your Copy of the Trust-Building Worksheet


 What happens when trust gets broken…

  • Understand what you want for next time
  • Protect yourself and support others
  • Move past distrust and disconnection, and...
  • Repair and reconnect!

Subscription Achieved!