During the course of your career, you are almost guaranteed to face an assignment or project that leaves you baffled. And, if you don’t know which direction to take to accomplish the objective, it can send you into a panic.

Regardless of the reason, being confused at work can be a heart-stopping experience. Luckily, it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, by asking the right question, you can gain a lot of information without having to directly admit that you’re lost. If you’re wondering what it is, here’s what you need to ask when you’re confused at work.

What Greater Goal Is This Project Tied to?

While this inquiry doesn’t look like it will get you the answers you need on the surface, it is actually an incredibly effective approach.

First, it makes you look like you are working to connect the assignment to the bigger picture, showcasing you as an employee who thinks about the long-term and overall value. Second, it creates an opportunity for dialog, allowing you to gain clarity along the way.

In some cases, your manager may actually need to consider this question before they can respond. Essentially, you are asking them to define the purpose of the project clearly and, if they don’t entirely know what that is, it could make your confusion seem appropriate. If that occurs, you have room to ask more questions, allowing you to continue with a productive conversation that helps clarify any existing expectations or priority objectives.

How Does This Question Help?

Ultimately, this one question gives you the opportunity to learn why the assignment is important. Once you understand how it relates to a larger goal, you may find choosing a direction isn’t as challenging.

Additionally, it can help you make critical decisions as you proceed with the project. When you are faced with a choice, consider which option best aligns with the greater goal and head in that direction.

What If That’s Not Enough?

If learning the greater goal doesn’t provide you with the information you need to choose a productive direction, you always have the option of admitting you need more guidance. It’s an entirely fair approach, but it does require you be honest about your current lack of understanding.

In cases where you have a positive relationship with your boss, owning up to your shortcomings typically won’t come with any significant repercussions. However, if you don’t, you may still need to risk it, even if there is some fallout, as it is better to get the guidance you need early than to try and fake your way through it, only to have to face the difficult conversation about why you missed the mark later.

However, if you haven’t tried asking that one simple question, it’s always worth using first. You may discover it is enough to get you headed in the right direction, allowing you to gain the clarity you need as discretely as possible.

If you are interested in learning more, the skilled recruiters at TempStaff can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you, whether you’re confused at work or not.



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