As a leader and parent understanding why someone did something or said something is vital.
I read the other day that great leaders ask “Why?” before they settle on an opinion of someone or an opinion of what someone did or didn’t do.
- Why are you late today?
- Why did you speak to her that way?
- Why did you hit your sister?
- Why did you not tell the truth?
- Why are you so angry?
- Why did you alter that document?
- Why did you not follow through as you said you would?
- Why did you leave out the most important facts related to this incident?
- Why did you decide on Option No. 2?
The point is obvious!
Sometimes there is a good reason why people do things; and as leaders, we need to know why so that we create the right impression in our minds of people . . . and also so that we know how best to react to a situation which might include coaching, counseling, and discipline—not to mention the impression that we might have of someone if we don’t know the whole story.
Why were you late? The answer could be, “Because I left too late, and I just can’t seem to get my act together.”
“My son was very sick, and I had to take him to the emergency room.”
So the point here is to ask “Why?” before you decide to take action or create a lasting impression in your mind about someone. Make sure you know the truth, and you will make much better leadership decisions and be thought of as a great leader! . . . Lee
re: “. . . we need to know why so that we create the right impression in our minds of people . . . and also so that we know how best to react to a situation which might include coaching, counseling, and discipline. . . .”
I like your Asking Why recommendation for leaders. I see that most of your reasons lead to positve approaches to the situation — coaching and counseling. I think we need to be very careful with the ‘discipline’ aspect. Certainly there are occassions where discipline is appropriate. My concern lies with the possibility that a manager asks Why? with a consistent penalizing approach. If we ask Why? to find out who is somehow guilty, regularly, then trust is lost. Few people want to work in a situation where a manager is looking to penalize rather than coach & support.