As Leaders, One of Our Main Jobs Is to Equip Others

When we equip others to think for themselves, we cultivate an environment of equals, we squash excessive pride and ego, we encourage critical thinking, we produce better thought leaders, and we create better ideas.

I try to ask questions more often than I give answers. Why? Because I believe that teaching people how to ask better questions is the best source of knowledge. This can sometimes leave people to think that I am being too vague when in all actuality, I am trying to push people to think for themselves. Giving people all of my own conclusions only produces lazy minds and thought patterns, and ends up leaving people forgetting how to adult. If I can give people new ideas to run with and do something great with, then I feel my job is done. But please know that ultimately you have to put in the work to see results for yourself; no one else can do that for you.

I feel that if I can give people new ideas to go do something great with, then my job is done. But please know that ultimately you have to put in the work to see results for yourself; no one else can do that for you. That’s why willpower is so important, and that’s also why life is a journey. You will learn much along the way so that you are better prepared the next time around. In fact, that’s what life is all about–trial and error, lessons learned, apply and repeat. As actor Will Rogers said, “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”

From my talk with Seth Godin on my podcast, I left with the need to ask myself the question “What is it for?” and the thought that maybe all advice is bad advice. You can listen by clicking here.

However, I am convinced that there are two ways to give people definitive answers that truly work. The first is to sit down with people one-on-one and listen to where they are coming from, because we have all embarked on different journeys. That is why giving one-size-fits-all advice rarely works, and why coaching and consulting are valuable businesses. And the second way to give definitive answers is to give people exercises to work through on their own, because no one knows someone better than one’s self. (Some very useful exercises can be found in my new book, The Bravest You.) That is understanding that one must be completely honest with themselves to obtain the correct answers.

When we equip others to think for themselves, we cultivate an environment of equals, we squash excessive pride and ego, we encourage critical thinking, we produce better thought leaders, and we create better ideas. Who knows? Maybe there’s an area that you need to rethink? And if there is, the best place to start is with asking better questions while looking from a different vantage point.


This article was originally published at asmithblog.com.