What the 1960s Milgram experiment can teach us about asking and being asked
I resonated a lot with your point about being asked the same question from multiple people, and how you can scale yourself. I see this as a key leadership responsibility. And if you frame it that way, you don’t need to wait for questions to come your way either.
Thank you for this great post. You emphasize two important skills to learn (or fears to overcome...): how to ask and how to say no. Both take courage, and both can be done with courtesy and respect to the other.
Great post as always. Recommend checking out the Asch conformity experiment as well. Explains a lot about the groupthink we've seen over the past few years.
I also advise folks to "scale yourself" when you see a pattern. I remind myself with this small count -- "One, Too, Many"...as in, *three requests is "one too many"* to answer as a one-off. The third time , "Document" it and send a pointer to the proper "document" -- whether that's actually a document, a dashboard, a piece of code, a google query...
I found myself nodding along as I was reading and left with 2 questions at the end:
1. How do you (generic) deal with an incessant stream of requests coming from your manager whose requests obviously cannot be ignored or deferred for long, when they are oblivious/don’t take the time to understand the “simple” off-the-cuff question is going to take 3 people one week to analyze? I have been in situations where I had to carve out team capacity just to deal with the barrage, so it didn’t distract everyone. Even worse are the requests that come in with a timeline - sometimes the only way to get it done is to throw more people at it, pulling them away from other work, or guesstimating.
2. I have learned to ask “how much effort do you estimate for this request?” when I make an ask, after my own experience on the receiving end. Any other tips to be a more effective manager?