Are you a morning person? I am. I never could understand people who enjoy sitting around in a bathrobe for half the day before they get moving. I like getting a jump on the day with an early start. I go the gym first thing in the morning and I dive into my toughest work projects when I get to my office. Look around you at the people you work with. Do you know who the morning people are and even more important who isn’t? You had better know which one your boss is.
I knew a manager who was a mess before lunch. Mornings were a nightmare for him—and for the people who worked for him. There wasn’t enough caffeine in a super-sized Starbucks to get him in a good mood. The best you could expect from him in the morning was a one or two word answer barked at you in a monotone. Yet, there was one of his subordinates who just didn’t understand that the manager hated making decisions early in the day. This subordinate would walk into the manager’s office early in the morning—often first thing—with a topic to discuss and a request for a decision. Most of the meetings got the manager annoyed. He would yell at the guy and in most of the cases, the answers to his requests were always no.
The other members of the team were a whole lot smarter. They planned their days to make requests to the boss after lunch. There never were arguments after lunch. Most of the time, the manager would agree to their requests. Do you think the first subordinate took the hint? He didn’t. He continued to be the verbal punching bag for the boss. The rest of the team even told this guy, “Why are you talking to the boss in the morning? He’s always in a bad mood.”
The subordinate never changed his strategy even though he was the one who mostly heard “no” while the rest of his team heard “yes.” Why? This guy was a morning person and he wanted to start his day with his decisions and go on. He never learned that mornings were a bad time to engage in a deep conversation with his boss.
If you want to get more accomplished at work, ask for what you want at the best time. Grumpy people are not likely to give you what you want. They don’t listen well and they’re not inclined to do more for you when they’re out of sorts. I certainly wouldn’t schedule early meetings with a manager who wasn’t a morning person if I had the choice. I wouldn’t schedule late afternoon meetings with someone who had been there since 6 in the morning. When you need someone to make a decision for you, think about when their energy is highest. That’s when to ask for what you want.
Timing is everything in business. Your job is to know whether that time is AM or PM. It just depends on the other person when the time is right for you.