How to Say Anything to Anyone | Shari Harley

Summary of: How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships That Really Work
By: Shari Harley


In ‘How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships That Really Work’, author Shari Harley explores the importance of open, honest communication in the workplace. The book emphasizes setting clear expectations, preparing for potential problems, understanding co-workers’ working-style preferences, and providing constructive feedback. It offers valuable advice on managing upward and navigating office politics, as well as fostering trust through open dialogue and improved communication. Ultimately, the book is a comprehensive guide on how to create and maintain positive, effective working relationships.

Building Honest Work Relationships

Creating genuine and candid work relationships is crucial to ensure a productive environment. To establish a pattern of candor, it is crucial to set clear expectations, address the consequences of insufficient expectations, prepare for unexpected situations, and inquire about your co-workers’ working-style preferences. Open communication and feedback are the building blocks of strong bonds. Discuss responsibilities, expectations, feedback, and interactions, and mutually agree on how often these talks will occur and who will lead them. Be welcoming of concerns and encourage co-workers to come forth in case of any issues. It’s significant to periodically check on your performance and reassess priorities as change is inevitable. In addition, anticipate potential problems and use planned/preventative measures. Face-to-face discussions should be held to address any questions regarding working-style preferences, irritations, and behaviors.

Build Trust Through Communication

The importance of clear communication in building trust is highlighted in Shari Harley’s book “Ask More. Assume Less.” Leaders should communicate their expectations clearly to new employees and provide both positive and negative feedback to help them achieve work-related goals. Failing to communicate or making assumptions can lead to misunderstandings and a lack of trust, as demonstrated by Harley’s experience when her boss assumed she knew about a requirement she had never been informed of. Leaders who prioritize communication and avoid making assumptions can build stronger, more trusting relationships with their employees.

Onboarding Questions for New Hires

The author suggests a set of questions to ask new staff in a 90-minute or 2 x 45-minute meeting. The questions include reasons to stay, needs for fulfillment, personal interests, preferred methods of recognition, future plans, concerns, and more. By paying attention to their responses, employers can gain insight into their staff’s motivations, personalities, and potential challenges. The author emphasizes that onboarding helps build a strong employer-employee relationship and sets the stage for mutual success.

Giving the right context

Providing context and insider information is crucial when welcoming new staff members to a team. This information helps them navigate the organization and understand “how things work.” Lack of context can lead to misunderstandings and tension between team members. It is important to communicate openly and honestly to avoid potential conflicts. Many people avoid speaking up about things that disappoint them, causing more significant harm to the relationship. In the long run, providing context and insider information can help new staff members acclimate to their role and avoid misunderstandings.

Earn Employee Loyalty

Managers should prioritize asking employees for feedback to improve their management style, boost employee satisfaction, and reduce turnover. Regular feedback can be obtained through performance reviews and occasional invitations to share feedback. This behavior is rare, and employees who are valued in this way are less likely to leave for other opportunities. Communicating the value of these relationships is key to building loyalty and improving management.

Managerial Success Strategies

Your success at work largely depends on your relationship with your manager. To improve this relationship, strive to make your manager shine in the eyes of their superiors. Always seek feedback from your manager on your work and how to improve. Get to know your predecessor if you assume their position, and understand the purpose and history of the job. Lastly, identify areas that matter most to your manager to avoid feeling micromanaged during project updates. Remember, you are responsible for your career satisfaction and success.

Mastering Your Company’s Culture

Understanding the Company’s Dynamics for Effective Career Growth

To thrive in your workplace, you must know the ins and outs of your organization’s politics and culture. This involves being aware of the unwritten rules, the company’s calendar, and how each department functions. Always ask questions and don’t wait to be told what to do. At the same time, take the initiative to explore different departments within the company and acknowledge how the teams interact with each other. Proactivity is also critical to avoid surprises that can harm your progress. By mastering your company’s culture, you can achieve effective career growth and enhance your capabilities as a professional.

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