In principle, good group decisions are based on shared understanding and shared understanding comes from asking questions of each other. When we tell a peer what they should do without first asking their opinion, we risk having made a decision without the benefit of all available information. And we risk missing the opportunity for advance support of the decision.
Don’t ask, don’t tell contributes to inaction. Tell, don’t ask contributes to oppression. Ask, don’t tell contributes to good group decisions and resulting good actions.
Practical Tip: In relations among relatively equal peers, ask someone’s opinion before telling them what to do.
Facilitating leaders ask. Commanding leaders tell. Facilitating shared understanding and advance support for an action dramatically increases chances of it being implemented well.
Asking rather than telling is a spiritual attitude of humility and a practical way to muster all available information and enthusiasm.
– Craig Freshley