What do you think

2015 : I met my nephew who was an extremely active kid who was tough to deal with. For a 7th grader, it was still tough to handle him. Fast forwarding to my recent visit to his place, I was pleasantly surprised, astonished to see what an amazing responsible teenager he has become. Entering grade 12, he has researched about career options, has an idea on which stream to pick for college and where to take internships. He is following various youtube channels of career counsellors and guides. We went on a car ride and I asked him, ” tell me Jay, do you realize the transformation you have ? I am still wondering how is it possible for you to completely change?” 

“Well, my parents are super cool that’s why”, he said in a plain tone.

“Wow.. you must feel so lucky and fun then”, the guilt of being a strict mom popped in my tone as I asked him.

“Not really chithi, I am so glad they are cool, but they always put the ball on my court. Like I have to own the decisions I make and I don’t have an option”, he tried explaining.

I carried the puzzle face as he said, “so I got two choices , either use the freedom and exploit the advantages and exploit me or learn to appreciate and be responsible and become better. So I chose the wiser one chithi”. 

I was speechless, looking at him. Its a dream thing especially when parenting is about “ensuring” your kids are in right track, how can you give the keys to them? ! 

Now shifting to a complete different scene to a work scenario, few years back I made a major blunder in shooting a mail with wrong info (tiny one yet) which was published to a huge audience and it backfired. I felt bad, it was a learning but was still okay, guess why? I got it reviewed and approved by quite a few seniors, including my management. So it was a matter of everyone’s tension including mine just that I launched the mail. I always think, was my attitude towards the issue right? Would I prefer my team members to react the same way I did or should I have been more accountable?

But over many years now after the incident, I am more responsible, accountability has increased, attention to details and most importantly decision making and strategy skills have become stronger competencies of mine. I have learnt to empower my team at the same time display empathy and invest on coaching them. When and where did this transformation happen? or rather let me tell you about a big twist in mindset and work model created by the words “what do you think”? 

Sad?Angry?Fear?Happy?

Our mentors and leaders play a very important role in our professional transformation. When leaders tell us what to do, we think of how to perform and deliver best but like the parent giving the keys of responsibility to the child, when the leader gives the key in your hands asking “what do you think?” . Take a minute to tune-in on the effects of this questions :

  1. The first and instant reaction is it puts you into a difficult situation, doing is easier than thinking. So, you brain muscle is on action.
  2. It makes you more responsible, to think of different dimensions, learn to ponder further because you own the answer.
  3. In this journey, by the end, you figure out the best (for sure), it builds one’s work strengths and makes you evolve stronger.
  4. The question doesn’t just make you find answers. The question is the path of transformation.
  5. This magical phrase works when you hear from your boss, and also works when you have a team. So, if you are a leader, the secret recipe is when and how to rightly place this powerful phrase to your team ” what do you think?” 

The minute our boss asks this question, we all would be at step 1 mentioned about, forehead wrinkled thinking mode ON, pulse rate high and then the cycle happens. But then, at the end, the results speak and we learn over the process ! So, spiderman is right “With great power, comes great responsibilities”

Btw, I did talk to my sister and heard the parent’s side of story and strategy. They always know when to pitch in and how to fix if required, just like leaders have their strategies too 🙂 What do you think 😉

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