Video: Interpersonal Skills Can Help You Clarify Deadlines
Here’s something that falls into the category of interpersonal skills. When you get an assignment, it's always a good idea to clarify the deadline for the assignment, right? That's like the 101 lesson of how to work in an organization. Your boss gives you an assignment. Go, "Okay, what's the deadline for it?" That's simple. And for a lot of folks, that’s where interpersonal skills cut off.
What you may not know, though, is there's another question you need to ask and that is, "How long do you think it should take?" This is where the interpersonal skills really kick in because there are two kinds of deadlines. There's the stated deadline, and then there's the deadline that your boss actually has in the back of their mind. And with a little more interpersonal skills, you can learn both.
Let's say the boss gives you an assignment on Monday, and they say you've got until Friday to do this assignment. You think to yourself, “All right. I've got until Friday. If I get it done Thursday, I'll have it a day early. That will be awesome.”
What you may not know, though, is your boss is thinking to themselves, “Yeah, you've got until Friday. If it were me, though, I'd have it done Monday afternoon.” That's a very important thing to know because you may bring it to your boss on Thursday thinking you've got it in a day ahead of schedule, but the boss is thinking, “Yeah, it's really 4 days late. Yeah, sure, you met the stated deadline, but you didn't really meet the deadline I had in the back of my brain.”
When you get an assignment, don't just ask, "What's the deadline?" Amp up your interpersonal skills and also ask the question, “How long do you think this should take? If you were doing this, how long would this take?” With just this small increase in interpersonal skills, it’s going to give you a much more realistic answer. So if the boss says, "Well, you've until Friday," respond back, "Great, how long do you think this should take?" And then listen for, “I don't know, two hours. It's not a big thing."
OK. What the boss just told you is: don't bring it to him on Thursday. You better bring it to him on Monday afternoon. You want to meet expectations? You want to exceed expectations? Really get a reputation as somebody who gets things done? You need to know not just the deadline. You need to know what the boss is really thinking about that deadline. And this is where exercising a little more interpersonal skills can really pay off.