This article is originally written for the ManipalBlog under my weekly column 'Serenade of My City'. It appears here. Visit this site for wonderful articles.
Socializing is not a quality everyone is born with. Some get it naturally and others like me have to work for it. It takes much more than just words for these people to communicate to new people. An enormous amount of energy and efforts goes into the initial phase, after which it is smooth sailing. I like to call it the Starting Problem. But with practice, there’s nothing humans can’t conquer. And this is one aspect most of us should try to be good at, both professionally and personally.
When i joined my new workplace, everything was obviously new. New place, new people, new methods, new rules. And it takes quite a bit to get these right. There are some things you can learn by reading up, but then there are those undocumented obvious rules in the air, which everyone seems to know, but you. Only recently, i realized this is actually a problem with a solution so simple, but not so much when it comes to implementing it. The solution i’m proposing is ‘JUST ASK’.
Most matters are the ones you get to know only by talking to the people you work with. Forget socializing, asking a simple question to a new colleague can make you tongue-tied sometimes. But if you think over it, most problems can be solved just by asking the right questions. Sometimes we know the right questions, but we hesitate to ask them. Asking doesn’t guaranty positive results. But it surely eliminates the time we waste before getting to it. Sooner or later, the outcome might be the same, then why waste time! In fact if it’s a negative outcome, we’ll have more time in our hands to work on it. And if it’s positive, then why miss the opportunity waiting, while you could be living it!
At times, in a new environment, we feel hesitant to pester others with questions, considering we’ve still not gelled well and upon that, the fear of the questions being perceived as dumb or foolish is scary. But as every preacher has preached, there is no such thing as a silly question. Without questions, there will not be answers. So ask away! I was hesitant too, but what i do now when i’m faced with a situation where i have to open my mouth and ask something to someone, i imagine that someone way back in time. He/she would have been a fresher too and i’m sure they went through the same initial jitters and problems that we are going through. They evolved over the years and so will we.
My point is most of our problems can be solved just by asking. When we don’t ask, we tend to assume stuff. And assumptions, especially in the cocoon stage, can grow us the wings we can never fly with! Clearing things by asking questions is the best way to lead. Not just professionally, but in our personal lives as well!
Having said that, keep tuned to Serenade Of My City. Next week i have a personal story for you, which shows how NOT asking questions can get you in trouble… deep trouble! Till then, practice shooting the right questions in the right place at the right time. Adios!