Give people a heads-up

Cool People Comic

Most people appreciate it when you give them a heads-up. It usually helps things go smoother.

For example today with the couch coming I told the front desk person what to expect. Now they should have already known because I had to reserve the elevator and I would imagine there is an internal process to let the front desk person know, but just in case there wasn’t, I let him know it was coming. You can’t assume that everyone is communicating with one another. By giving people a heads-up you help them be ready to deal with your issue proactively, and that tends to reduce stress for people.

Cool People Comic
cool people comic

Now I have gotten feedback that I can be too helpful. I guess that means that I shouldn’t try to make others’ lives easier, because it might make them feel less professional or capable. It is hard not to be helpful to me. I want things to go well, so I look for ways to make others’ lives easier. There is a balance though, so at times I don’t do something that I thought about doing.

For example, I wrote an article earlier about not telling people how to do their jobs. I wrote that because I was going to suggest something to someone I work with and then I realized that I was telling her how to do her job. I stopped myself from doing that and wrote that article to remind myself that how other people choose to do their job is their business, and unless I am their manager I don’t have any right to interfere. Sometimes what I write here is first for me to remember and work out.

See also  Be succinct

Is there a time when you shouldn’t give people a heads-up? When they need to make the mistake of learning that their problem-solving/decision-making is ineffective. A gift that I have been given is often the ability to know the outcome of uncertain things. This is frustrating at times when I see people make decisions that are the opposite of the outcomes they want to achieve. Yet they need to make mistakes to learn. It’s nice to be able to know the outcomes of my decisions, but painful to watch other people fail. Still, they need to fail to learn a better way so I can’t change that. People need to make mistakes. I knew I needed to make mistakes.

Give people a heads-up if you want, but if you don’t, it might reinforce the lessons from their mistakes.