Most importantly, we should try to avoid reacting to a need expressed by someone or to an observation made. If someone says: ‘I would like something to eat, but I did not bring any money.’ then we resist offering them our cash, since this message is nothing other than the expression of a need, (I would like to eat something) and the making of an observation (I did not bring any money.) We try to react to concrete requests directed to us. The absence of a request may mean that that no one is asking us anything. If, however, we want to lend a friend some money, then it would be better to check by asking: ‘Do you want me to lend you some money?’ We should check our interpretations by asking suitable questions. The point is to check our assumptions before drawing conclusions or taking specific actions.
In professional relationships, clear expressions of requests and expectations lead to a more effective working environment, since the people working together do not waste time and energy on interpreting the words and behavior of others. A subordinate does not have to guess what their superior expects of them when saying: ‘It is so dirty in here. Can anyone work well here?’ / ‘This must be sent today.’/ ‘Since I come on time, others can do the same.’ These are examples of unclear messages, to which subordinates either do not react, or react inappropriately, not knowing exactly what their boss has in mind.