Sometimes it’s me who demands, sometimes it’s a client or a contractor. We demand a new feature to be shipped on a specific date, a contract to be written in a certain way or a family member to perform a task for us. I’ve picked up the saying “amateurs demand – professionals require” some years ago and I often refer to it when I encounter a personal or business confrontation. Demanding instantly introduces hierachy, like the king who demands of his subordinates or the principal of his agent.
Requiring on the other hand is an invitation to listen and understand the underlying needs. It’s the first step to build a partnership, to help each other achieve a goal – rather than builing a wall that seperates us from each other. Demanding only touches the what and sometimes the how. But even in total disagreement, requiring invites to a mutual discussion about the why and helps finding a peaceful solution.