Show Your Hand

My manager said something interesting to me this week. We’re trying to find a new team member, and I was worried that his star candidate might not be fully aware of the requirements for the position.

“We don’t want to show our hand”

I love my job, but when I got hired, the hiring manager had the mindset that any engineer could do the job he was hiring for, and so instead of sharing details with me, he talked in generalities. He hid his hand, and the result was six months on me struggling to get up to speed on the project. It was a welcome change from the previous employer who worked me to death, but still not pleasant.

Why do we feel the need to not be upfront and honest?

My favorite question of late has been, “What is your ask?”

People feel the need to explain themselves and paint a picture before getting to the point. I don’t care about the backstory as much. I want to know what you need. If I know what you need, I can help you, or know that I can’t help you without the linguistic dance.

Of course, I state this, as a man who is trying to figure out his needs as a human being.

And sometimes, know what you need is half the battle.

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