Helping Others Grow Versus Having the Answers and Solving the Problems

There's an old adage that says, "What got you here, won't get you there."

I was reminded of it while reading an article in Fast Company by Kevin Cashman, How To Ask--And Listen--Like You Mean It. Early in the article he asks, "What would happen if you used your drive, analytical capabilities, and intelligence to help others to grow versus having the answers and solving the problems?"

It's ironic I should have been pulled up short by this simple question. I make my living as a consultant and contrary to popular belief, consultants are rarely hired to have the answers, but rather to know the right questions.

None the less, in all other situations, including working with my colleagues I pride myself upon being recognized as someone who finds solutions and "gets things done".

As such, I'm quick to jump into the fray and start suggesting alternatives; quick to posit solutions.

My colleagues and I believe everyone leads sometime or another in the sense that everyone influences someone. As such, I was pulled up short so to speak when I read the article this morning.

Why? Because even when I'm not the "leader", someone is watching and I can probably make a greater contribution asking a few more questions and digging a little deeper before I jump in with answers.

As much as I abhor a vacuum, if nothing else, leaving a little space for others to play may make the game a little richer and the solutions chosen possibly better.