People ask you questions – relatives, friends, colleagues, customers and even competitors. But when a mentor or coach asks, your response will give away your entire mindset and summarize your whole learning experience.
In a learning experience, the direction of questions is expected to be from bottom up. That is, from the learner to the life coach. But sometimes too, questioning can change direction. The leader can ask the associate. The wisdom is for the evolving leader to know that the purposes are different and to know how to respond to a senior’s question rather than run with into the error of assumption. Great, intelligent and busy leaders view an associate’s actions based on assumptions without clarifications as being presumptuous.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A MENTOR’S QUESTION
1. The associate asks questions to learn but the leader asks to find out how much the associate has learned.
2. A mentor’s question has the answer before the question is posed. Therefore, the associate is to listen properly to gain a clue to the real issue.
3. The mentor’s question is not usually the issue but the motive of his inquiry. The right attitude therefore is to listen, listen and listen before you respond.
4. A mentor’s question is a test of how well the associate understands his (mentor’s) person, purpose principles and program of the associate’s on-going development.
c) A mentor asks to find out the extent of wisdom the associate has gleaned directly from him, and not primarily for him to learn from the associate. The associate may try to impress but the mentor’s objective is to impart.
The mentor’s question(s) may be posed more than once. The associate’s consistent reply may affect the display of attitude from his life coach. When a mentor feels you know he is a helper of your purpose, his impartation juice pumps more in your direction.
Senior leaders respond to unmet needs, desires or goals by “acting-out” involuntarily. They betray their internal frustrations with emotional outbursts reminiscent of a toddler’s tantrum. I call this the LEADER’S TANTRUM.
The same respectable influential figure you revere suddenly gets angry at you and everyone, blaming, fuming and hopefully not, cursing. In one short breath that lasts only a minute, he has recalled sixty things you have done wrong and why YOU are now a pain. You wonder what the problem is. You try to explain but he shuts you up and then shuts you out. He rants at the top of his voice. Sometimes, he runs the risk of distorting the facts, blaming you for what is not your fault. And it can be sudden, unplanned and unexpected.
A leader’s tantrum is a CALL FOR HELP, reactively
WHAT A LEADER’S TANTRUM INDICATES
The summary of all executive act up is that the senior leader is not entirely happy and has unresolved work issues that have piled up. More specifically…
1. He cannot (or is not) expressing his needs in CLEAR TERMS. Nonetheless, the associate being the respondent must understand there’s a need to be met
2. He’s not getting the RESULTS he desires
3. He wants urgent ASSISTANCE to share his workload
4. He expects someone to have ASSUMED responsibility
5. He feels RESTRICTED and desires to be free to handle other (higher) aspects of the corporate vision
6. He is OUT OF CONTROL, overwhelmed and losing direction; of course, this also affects the associate leader indirectly
7. He’s out of RHTYMN and wants to separate his person from the pressures of his work
8. He’s STRESSED and needs some help for the time being
9. For an insecure leader, he just needs MORE ATTENTION from you for a while!
Prolonged neglect of a leader’s tantrum is prolonged distraction to the associate’s productivity.