September 26, 2022

Be wary of the power of ‘Why?’

black board with wooden frame and Why? written in white chalk

Imagine you see someone, a colleague, a friend, even a partner, doing something wrong, and it matters to you. Or they fail in their task and that matters to them.

Perhaps you don’t have to imagine it 🙂

We are often tempted to ask ‘Why?’

Whenever you ask someone why they did something, you are inviting them to justify their actions and, in their mind, this actually reinforces the behaviour.

Rather than ask why someone did something that turned out wrongly, ask them what they were trying to achieve.

This is a very different question and far more useful. Then together you can formulate a different action that would get the result you both want.

On the other hand, it is good to ask ‘why’ someone did something that turned out well, as this will reinforce the desired behaviour.

Be wary of the power of ‘Why?’

“Why do you read these tips on my blog?” 🙂

My best wishes, Paul

Paul Matthews

CEO and Founder of People Alchemy

share this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

related posts

Female graduate student at a podium giving a speech

If you were to give a speech

If you were to give such a commencement speech to ten thousand people about to start their adult lives, what would you say?

Read More
faint background a woman smiling. Overlaid in blue a stick woman walking up steps towards a flag at the top

Get visibility of what line managers are doing post training

Following training the attitude and input from the line managers of the delegates is pivotal in determining if they are able to operationalise what they learned.

Read More
An illustration of the animals on noah's ark

Are you a manager or a leader?

Is the whole leadership vs. management thing a red herring? Consider your own situation…

Read More
Cartoon coach shouting through megaphone at four students running up a performance graph arrow

Introduce another player to the trainee/manager relationship

After delivering training you want to see behaviour change. The trainee may want to discuss this outside their line relationship. Introduce another player…

Read More

search blog

Get your free weekly tip

You agree that we can keep a record of your details, and send you other occasional offers. See our Privacy Policy