smiley face with thumb's upThe answer is pretty easy, really. Ask them.

A lot of business owners, freelancers, executives and consultants make the mistake of assuming that if they don’t hear anything to the contrary, that people they are working with are happy with the status quo. That’s not necessarily true.

People don’t speak up for many reasons:

  • Fear. What if they don’t like the answer they hear? What if {fill in the blank}.
  • Time. They are so overworked that they don’t have the time to pause and consider how they’re doing, how they feel about their work or even how effective they are or what they could do to improve.
  • Unrealistic expectations. They expect that the other person will make the first move.

Here’s what I say: Be proactive. Take the time. Ask the difficult questions. What’s the worst thing that can happen here? You get fired? O.K. so that could happen, but chances are it won’t.

Most of the time when I step up and ask, “How’s it going?” the gesture itself builds goodwill and trust, no matter the outcome.


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