Ask Adrienne How to Ask
You just arrived at your job and there is a question burning inside of you. Maybe it is asking for clarification on the tasks you are suppose to complete. Maybe it is about why there is NO diversity in the office. Maybe it is about a new initiative you want to start in order to bring your company to a new level. But, you don’t know how to ask or even if you’re allowed to ask.
You do not have to fear any longer because we have Adrienne Alberts. She has a M.Ed in College Student Personnel and Counseling Psychology and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from James Madison University. Additionally, she has over 10 years of experience in running college and diversity recruiting teams. She now manages operations and programs for Talent Acquisition at the American Red Cross. All of these stats make her uniquely qualified to tell the young professionals of the world how to ask a question.
Let’s say that you just started your brand new job and have a million questions burning inside you, Adrienne says you should be able to, “ask any question about the strategy, direction, and goals of the organization without having to fear that they may lose their job.” It is important to know these things about a company, so it is better to ask than to guess or not know.
"No question is off limits” - A.A.
That doesn’t mean you have the free reign to just ask without thinking. Adrienne reminds us, “It’s not what you ask but the way you ask it". Keep in mind the 5 Ws. Who are you asking, what are you asking, when are you asking, and why are you asking. This will allow you to assess the correct and respectful way to formulate your question.
Goals of the company may seem easy enough to ask about, so let’s move to something harder. What do you do if you want to talk about the big picture, hard questions-- ones about diversity and inclusion? Adrienne tells us that, “An individual has the right to raise their hand and ask what direction the goals are going in and how they can be actively involved.” This applies to a project being worked on in the office and diversity and inclusion. Adrienne also reminds us that, “it’s also very important to be informed and ask about particular goals if you are aware of them or ask what the goals will be if you are not aware.”
So you’ve asked and they’ve answered, don’t just assume someone else will do the hard work or that it is above you pay grade. If you feel powerless, ask, “how can I be engaged?” For example, “ask your supervisor to explain initiatives.” This is important work, remember that you are “impacting your community and culture by being actively involved and engaged and asking questions to make sure diversity and inclusion remains on the radar.”
As much as Adrienne encourages young professionals to ask questions, make sure you are not only asking questions, “Also share information. If you want to make an impact, you share opportunities to get people in the pipeline.”
Adrienne reminds us to “take the control by asking the questions or asking them in a way that will show people you care and are engaged.” This will allow you to stand out for your inquisitive ways and unique perspective on an issue. You also want your boss to know that you are going to go after what you want. After all, “the purpose is to understand where the organization is and how I can be engaged to help initiatives move forward.”
Thank you Adrienne for all of the helpful advice and wonderful conversation. To keep up or connect with Adrienne check out her Linkedin.