If it’s not a question, don’t ask!

Some lessons you learn the fun/hard way. In other words, your children teach you. Anybody with kids recognises the following conversation.

You: Can you please put on your shoes?
Kid: No!
You: Put your shoes on!
Kid: But you asked me and…
You: PUT YOUR G#$%& SHO…
Etc, etc,..

Technically, No!, was a valid answer. And your kid reminded you of that. But, that’s not the answer you wanted. The answer you wanted was Yes!, with the “voluntary” follow up action of actually putting on the shoes.

Recognise this?

  • Asking your team to do something and the answer “No” is not the answer you want nor accept?
  • Proposing a new way of working and the team does not agree and you already are putting it in play?
  • Asking people to follow new guidelines when they are actually mandatory?
  • Giving advise that should be followed?
  • Giving several choices but only one of the options is correct?

And? How do your colleagues react? Internally probably the same way as your kids, they just won’t say. It’s a full fledged feeling of injustice. You think you are given a choice, but actually you aren’t. You were told what to do, but in a “nice” way or something. Nobody likes this.

Stop it!

So what is the solution? Stopit! Stop asking when it’s not a question! It could be that your kids are too small to think for themselves. That means you need to tell them instead of asking. Your team members and co-workers are professionals, they can think for themselves. Only tell your co-workers what to do when it comes to the big picture (strategy, values etc.). Give them the Why and some of the What. Let them figure out the How for themselves.