Sunday, June 24, 2012

25: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders

My husband, Alan, and I are attempting to be the masters of Principle 25 when it comes to parenting our two-year old son, Tyler.  One of the core tenets of the parenting class we took (Love & Logic) is to offer choices to children.  As a result, we spend our days asking Tyler questions: "Tyler, do you want to play one more minute before bath time or two more minutes?"  "Tyler, do you want a banana or grapes?" For the most part, Tyler is receptive to these choices.  And since he likes to do EVERYTHING on his own (God has blessed us with Mr. Independent), I know he would rather be asked a question than barked an order.

So I went into this week knowing that I had this questions thing down... for toddlers.  The unknown was how it would work with adults.  I discovered throughout the week that this principle comes more naturally to me than others (definitely more naturally than last week's principle!).  I've never been a fan of conflict or confrontation so I rarely give "direct orders."  As I observed my interactions with colleagues over the week, I found that I am more likely to go the questioning route.  For example, my boss was leaving on vacation so I knew we needed to finish a big project before he left. Instead of telling him this pointblank, I asked him a few questions: "How can I help with the budget this week?"  "I'm guessing David will want the budget before the end of the month, do you agree?"  In the end, the budget is done!  Along with submitting it on time, I know my boss will appreciate not having to think about it when he is away, too.

Maybe you're not a fan of conflict like me or maybe you've got a little bit of  drill sergeant in you.  Most likely, you fall somewhere in between.  No matter what your natural disposition, remember that questions can be your friend whether you're dealing with toddlers or bosses.  So fire away (with questions!) this week!

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