We exist and live in relation to other people and entities.When we find ourselves unhappy or off balance it is often because we think that we're not getting what we deserve. But how do we know when life or people are being fair or unfair towards us? Well I guess it's when what we give and what we receive is pretty much balanced - it feels fair.
Unfortunately we very often have forgotten to set up the initial agreement of who is going to do what, for how much, correctly in the first place… that set of thoughts or even a physical document which clarifies what we are prepared to give and what we expect in return is absent. With such nebulous expectations little wonder that we often can't decide what is and isn't 'fair'.
So, a conversation is called for and here are some useful rules for it. They are really the things that you need to do for yourself and for the other person to make the conversation 'real' and genuinely useful.
Firstly, though, here are the two questions that the two parties must reflect upon before the conversation begins:
1. What I would like to give
2. What I would like in return
And now here are those rules for each of you to observe...
1. Listen. Pay attention to the words and special attention to the feelings behind them. Take responsibility for understanding.
2. Ask for what you want. Be clear, be true. Take responsibility for looking after your needs.
3. Accept that you may not get some or all of what you requested.
4. No shame, no blame. Don’t be ashamed in making a request. Try not to blame the person for making it.
5. The deal needs to feel fair for it to work properly.
6. You are allowed to change your mind.
And as for who you need to strike these deals with, here are some possibilities for you:
In this order:
2. My boss
3. My team
4. My colleagues (if different)
5. My Organisation
This contracting conversation might seem a little stilted to begin with but it's really refreshing to be able to speak openly with your boss or a colleague (or yourself!) about what you really hope for and about what you'd really like to offer. The chances are that you will feel better even just having thought about this possibility, but if you really want to get the big win out of this, have that conversation with the people who are most important to you.