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Ask me first & Tell me why — My guess on why many leaders fail to use this simple approach to gain buy-in isn’t used

September 15, 2014
I read an article in the September 2014 Veterinary Team Brief that really struck a cord!  It was on the benefits of asking, rather than telling to lead.  Anyone who has been told to do something without understanding why or who was not asked for input first, can see the wisdom of the asking approach.  My guess is that what stops leaders from asking is not that they don’t want to; I think they don’t know how. They are used to giving orders – how else do you get things done?  I know. I used to be one of those people.
Here’s an exercise a wonderful executive coach had me try to help me make the change:
Modeling what she wanted me to do, she asked me what would happen if, when I needed someone to do something, I started the conversation with a question instead of a statement? She asked me if I would try it for a week and try to start my questions with “What” and “How.”  It turned out to be a game-changing event in my life!
In that week, I learned how people opened up and engaged when they were asked,  rather than when they were told. I learned they had great ideas and I learned a lot about myself and how to communicate  more effectively as a leader.
I think a lot of people want to change, but don’t know how. I hope this idea will help. I’d love to hear ideas from others on this new, “Ask – Don”t tell” style of leadership.
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