If in Doubt, Ask.

It is okay to ask questions in life, in work. In the work environment, as an owner, manager, supervisor, or whatever I may be, whatever hat I may be wearing, I want to hear questions. I dislike it when an employee does not ask a question, for whatever reason, then does something wrong, or does nothing at all (because they didn’t know the next step). Questions are okay; asking should be okay. Any boss who does not tolerate questions is a bad boss. That said, questions asked out of laziness, for example, rather than seeking an answer that might be in a policy or procedure manual, are frustrating. But, even remedial questions, in my opinion, are better than getting things wrong. And, if the question is remedial, it provides an opportunity to remind the questioner that he/she has ways to find the information without asking the boss.

Here’s a question for David: Why was your part of this post so short? But, to get to the point, I agree with David about asking questions, up to a point.  We recently terminated an employee who spent more time asking us stupid questions than using her brain.  This employee seemed, to me, to ask questions designed to make her look smart, but the questions actually had the opposite effect of making it look as if she was trying to get me to do her work; waste my time and money asking questions when the answers had already been provided to her, many times, in writing; or in general, avoid completing the tasks to which she had been assigned.  Other employees have charged full speed ahead without asking for help, resulting in doing the wrong thing and in some instances, doing the wrong thing that was costly to the company.  There is a fine line between asking too many questions and not asking enough.  There is also an annoying “conversational” style that David and I observe all too often.  When David and I attempt to provide someone with a thoughtful, detailed account of something we consider important, we are often interrupted by a rude barrage of questions by listeners who can’t be quiet (my mom told me not to say “shut up”) and listen to what we are trying to explain.  The questions being asked by the so called listener are in anticipation of what might be said, but the person can’t seem to wait until it’s his/her turn to speak.  Mom would have told this type of person “Hold your horses”! Nobody’s perfect but the main thing is to adapt one’s listening skills, questioning mode, and other ways of doing things to one’s situation, particularly when one is dealing with a strong personality or one’s boss.  Any questions? 


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