You do not like the answer? Do not ask the question!


Man sitting on a question mark

Some time ago, a friend told the story of a conversation she had had with her husband. My friend asked a question to her husband and did not like the answer that he gave her. His answer: "If you do not like the answer, do not ask the question."

How many times do we ask a question in the hope of getting the answer we want to receive? As leaders, we must be willing to accept any answer we get to a question even if it is not what we expected. In the HBR.org blog "Do not ask for comments unless you want to," offers Ron Askenas. the following tips regarding comments:

Think carefully and consciously about whether you really want feedback and why. If you really think that you could benefit from the thought of someone else, ask for it. But if you are certain that what you are doing or thinking is already good enough, you can do it without asking anything. In other words, do not ask for a contribution as a social convention. Do it only if you think.

If you ask for feedback, be prepared to think about it seriously. This does not mean that you have to do everything suggested, but you must at least listen and think. Then, thank or thank the person who provided the comments (and maybe even an explanation of what you did with the comments).


About the author:
Pam McDonald is an editor and publisher for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and a member of the NWCG Leadership subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.

December 14, 2012 retro blog