Friday, December 14, 2012

Don't Like the Answer? Don't Ask the Question!

A while back a friend told a story about a conversation she had with her husband. My friend asked her husband a question and didn't like the answer he gave her. His reply: "If you don't like the answer, don't ask the question."

How many times do we ask a question hoping to get the answer we want to receive? As leaders, we need to be willing to accept whatever answer we get to a question even if it isn't what we expected.

In the blog post "Don't Ask for Feedback Unless You Want It," Ron Askenas offers the following advice with regard to feedback:
  • Think carefully and consciously about whether you really want feedback, and why. If you truly think that you could benefit from someone else's thinking, then ask for it. But if you feel confident that what you are doing or thinking is already good enough, then it's okay not to ask. In other words, don't ask for input as social convention. Do it only if you mean it.
  • If you do ask for feedback, be prepared to seriously consider it. That doesn't mean that you have to do everything that's suggested, but you should at least listen and think about it. Then give the person who provided the feedback some acknowledgement or thanks for making the effort (and maybe even an explanation of what you've done with the input).

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