Don’t Ask If You Don’t Want To Know!

As a mentor to other leaders, I am constantly reminding them that the responsibility of being a Leader is to recognize that what you say…

As a mentor to other leaders, I am constantly reminding them that the responsibility of being a Leader is to recognize that what you say and how you behave is having an impact on those who choose to follow you. The moment you set yourself up as an authority, there will be those who will oppose your leadership and those who will follow it.

Something you may want to consider:

Recently I was speaking with someone who had specifically asked me for “advice” regarding a certain situation. After much consideration and qualification, I gave my direction. Later that person came back and thanked me as my “advice” I had given had brought a result they were both surprised delighted by.

Suddenly there was one of the moments of silence in the conversation. A moment where you can almost hear the wheels turning inside someone’s head. After a long awkward pauses, this same person jumped in and asked me why I thought that in the past they had not followed my direction, particularly when they knew the advice or direction I had given was the “right” thing to do?

My reply was short and simple: “People often ask for advice but what they really want is one of two other things.”

1) To be made right about what they’ve already done… or

2) To be given permission to do what they have already decided to do. Anything else; correct or otherwise, is an exercise in futility for the adviser.

The truth of it is that some people are “ask-holes” they will come to you for advice and if you don’t give them the advice they want they will go and ask someone else, and then someone else, and so on. That is until the get validation of what they have already decided. Why do they do this? Because If I may I’d like to share the proviso I give before I offer to advise. Feel free to steal and use it. When I’m asked for advice, here’s my first reply: “Do you really want to know? Don’t ask me unless you really want to know!”

ASKHOLE: a person who constantly asks for your advice, yet does the total opposite of what you told them.

So here’s my question for you: Are you an Ask-hole who rather than looking for the input you are actually looking for validation?

If so, you can be sure that you are really getting on the last nerve of some folks.

Or conversely, are you someone who freely gives out your best advice and then feels upset that it’s not taken? If so, you may want to try out the qualifier I gave. That way when they come back for round two you will be able to say “sorry, I’m not playing this game”

Being a leader is about serving, but not at the cost of your own integrity.

I trust that you found this article valuable if so, feel free to send this to your friends. I eagerly anticipate your feedback and comments!

With gratitude,

My Authentic Leadership Matrix is free this link! Why? Because one of the questions I’m most often asked is; What authentic leadership is and how do we define it? As a result, with years of experience and extensive requests, I created Authentic Leadership Matrix. It’s designed to give you a clear process of how to perform in each of the five main areas that are required for you to become a world-class authentic leader. Start your yes and no evaluation to discover your leadership traits here:

Originally published at

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