Few days back, a colleague walked over and said, “this might be a silly question, but I want to ask if……….?”
Why do we tend to add a disclaimer before asking a question: a simple question or unnecessary or trivial question or even complex question.
Contrast this with how children ask questions; uninhibited and straight forward, without mincing words. Doesn’t matter how embarrassing it is for the elders around them. I remember as a 3–4-year-old kid asking my mother as to why our guest’s face resembled a dog as he was rinsing his mouth after lunch, that too in front of him!! I also remember being dragged away from the spot…
I didn’t ask the question to annoy or embarrass anyone, as a kid, I was just trying to clarify, to understand the world around me. I shared this extreme example only to illustrate my point, the contrast between children and adults. As we know, most questions posed by children are harmless.
So, what changes as we step into adulthood? What holds us back or forces us to add disclaimers to our questions? Here are few possible reasons:
Self-protection from perceived threat of being ridiculed
Unsure if it’s the right question or right forum, its implication on self and others
Fear of revealing ignorance, our lack of knowledge about something that we believe we should have
Let’s turn it on its head! What if we see questions as a sign of
Willingness to learn
Sense of security
Desire to deliver excellent work
Won’t it change how we ask questions… going back to the beginning of the post, I remember responding to this colleague, “go ahead, every question is important… no question can be silly.”
Here’s to asking questions fearlessly and without disclaimers…..
At the outset, I would like to thank you for stopping by my Blog.
I believe that there is nothing right or wrong in this world. What’s right in this moment and context may be wrong in another moment and context. This belief has inspired me to name my blog ‘Perspectives’.
Perspectives is a platform for me to share my experiences, thoughts and perspectives on various subjects. You may have a different point of view. I look forward to hearing them, these are the triggers for rich and deep conversations.
On personal front, I live in Mumbai, India. I love to read; Somerset Maugham and Nevil Shute are my favorite authors. My favorite books are The Razor’s Edge, Mrs. Craddock, Chequer Board and Gone with the Wind. I am thankful to my father who inculcated the habit of reading in me early on.
I am also passionate about traveling, I have been to most parts of India and to several countries across the globe.
On professional front, I work in Human Resources function. Over two and half decades, I have worked across multiple industries and cultures. I focus on Leadership Development, Talent Management, Visioning and Culture, Large-scale change, Employee Listening & Engagement, Employee Well-being, Inclusive work culture, HR effectiveness, Behavior and Mind-set shifts through sustained interventions
I currently lead Organization Effectiveness Function for Aditya Birla Group, a $44.3 billion conglomerate with 120000 employees across 35 countries.
I sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading my blog. I look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.
View all posts by Padma Rajeswari Nandi