Most of the time we wait for someone to tell us…because that's what we've been taught. Rarely do we take the initiative to ask (our boss, customer, friend/spouse) this question without solicitation…mostly because we're afraid to. Asking the question invites criticism of our work, our world view and what we stand for. Asking suggests that we aren't good enough and that we have issues to correct. Perhaps the questions should be rephrased…how can I help make things better?
As a leader imagine if your front line employees came to you with that sort of initiative. Now imagine what the employee might say if you came to them with the same question…what can we do to help you realize your goals, dreams (different than asking how can we help you improve)?
We're taught that as leaders our job is to get the most out of people…that's management. We're taught to teach, measure and correct…to improve productivity and yield. We're taught that as followers we should do our best to meet standards, fit in and follow the game plan. And if we're not doing so, our bosses will tell us. But what would happen if we moved the waiting game out of the way? What if everyone every once in a while asked themselves (then those around them)…how can I make things better? Imagine how refreshing that would be.