As a leader, you may be really good at asking questions. If you are, you may notice that, on occasion, the person you’re asking questions of may be struggling with answering. This may be for several reasons:

  • They may be accessing long term memory.
  • They may be working through a complex problem.
  • They may not know the answer and trying to work through it.
  • They may not be feeling comfortable with the answer and trying to grapple with the emotions they are feeling.

Whether it’s for the reasons listed above, or for another not listed, the struggle is where the growth edge lies.

Sometime’s when we see our people struggling with their response, we may be tempted to interrupt and help them answer the question. In doing so, we may stifle the growth process. We may deprive them of the benefits of coming up with the answer themselves. We may teach them to become reliant on us to provide solutions. We may stop them from learning they can answer their own questions. We may impede their development to answer questions in the future.

Think about a time when someone interrupted you when you were struggling with an idea. Did it help or hinder your thought process?

It may be uncomfortable to see our people struggle, but it might be what they need for their growth.