When somebody asks you a question, how do you typically respond? Do you ignore that question because it seems silly? Do you attempt to answer the question in a thoughtful or informative way? For many managers, being appropriately responsive to specific situations is one of the most important qualities that they seek to find in prospective employees. If you don’t respond well or maybe even over-respond during unique situational circumstances, chances are you’ll be passed over for someone else. Here’s how you can make sure that your responses are in sync with what your employer may want to see from you:
How Responsive Do You Need To Be?
One of the best ways to determine how responsive you need to be in any given situation is to segment out all of your contacts, like you can do with Google circles. Your general acquaintances may need one level of response, for example, while your direct supervisor might need another level of response from you. Of course this isn’t something that you need to publicize – simply determine what level of responsiveness is appropriate for each circle and then stick to what you develop.
How Responsive Do Others Need To Be To You?
In order for any relationship to be healthy, you need clear guidelines and expectations that are accepted by all of the parties involved. If you have a new client, start working for a new supervisor, or you get a new partner, it’s very helpful to clarify what expectations you have for them… and vice-versa. This creates a contract that will have everyone happy, as long as it is followed, that is.
Express Your Own Expectations of Responsiveness
If you have people who report to you, it’s important for them to know what you need from them in terms of responsiveness. The same is true for any vendors with whom you may work, other business associates, and partnerships that have a direct relationship with you. If everyone knows what the expectations are, then there is a certain level of accountability that can be had that helps projects get done much more quickly.
Be Proactive In Terms of Your Responsiveness
The nature of humanity is that we are all imperfect at some point during the day. We might not be able to respond to someone as quickly as we had initially anticipated. We might violate the responsiveness contracts that we have created with others. If we can give people a heads up when we know we’ll miss an expectation or follow-up with people who have miss our own expectations, we’ll be able to keep a relationship healthy.
You don’t have to be the same thing for everyone. It’s really not possible to be everything for everyone in this modern age. It is important, however, to set boundaries, communicate these boundaries, and follow through with your responsibilities. This can help you be the responsive person that you may need to be.