Getting others to complete the tasks you want and need done is rarely easy. Here are some tips to help get everyone on the same page.

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It’s a fact of the working world: Getting others to complete the tasks you want and need done is rarely easy. Whether you’re a manager delegating activities, trying to convince peers to achieve a goal for the greater good of the team or a fresh-out-of-school professional managing up, the complications are the same. Key details get lost in translation, competing priorities get in the way, and teams are often working against tight deadlines and limited resources.

So how do you convince co-workers to do what you want and ensure you’re on the same page about completing the task at hand? Follow this advice.

Explain the why. This detail is incredibly important, but easily gets lost in the weeds when getting down to the tactics of a project. An activity could be as simple as entering data into a spreadsheet, but if people feel like they are working toward a common goal or solving a problem as opposed to doing mindless busy work, they are more likely to do the work and do it exceptionally well.

Understand their motives. We all have varying priorities and values. Know the values of the people on your team, and appeal to them. For example, if you know a teammate strives to get home by 5 p.m. to make a child’s soccer practice, appeal to this when asking for his or her support with an initiative to improve day-to-day efficiencies. If it supports an important personal value, it will be easier to get the teammate on board.

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Envision the end result and share it. Before you ask for assistance with a project or task, you must clearly understand and be able to share a vision for an end result. Not conveying expectations, limitations and priorities will lead to wasted time, and often, a disappointing finished product, which is frustrating for all involved.

Leave room for interpretation. While you need to have a clear vision for the end result, do leave room for your co-workers to make the project or task better and to do it in a way that supports their strengths. This is why we work in teams — different viewpoints and skill sets help make our work better than we could have done on our own.

Focus on the positive. People respond more favorably to positive communication. Remember this when you ask for help. For example, instead of posing a “we need to do this or else …” threat, share the benefits and values of the work that needs to be done.

Lisa Quast is the founder of Career Woman, Inc., and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at