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Guest Post: Ian Cook


We have a special guest on the blog today. Ian Cook, Fulcrum Associates, has written a terrific article that we'd like to share with you.


What’s Your Ask/Tell Ratio?

By Ian Cook
What’s Your Ask/Tell Ratio?

Do you ask your employees as often as you tell them what to do and what you think?

In my experience, most managers don’t, not even close. Elsewhere in this blog I have offered four reasons why this is so.

But if you have no answer to the above question, I invite you to spend a week or so watching yourself–as a third party would–as you interact daily with your staff.

  • If your employee is struggling to collect more accurate data for his weekly status report, do you jump in with your advice or ask what he has tried or what he could try?
  • If your employee’s performance falls off, do you tell her HOW she has to work differently or do you get her to come up with some ideas?
  • When your team meets to discuss a problem like why production is falling, do you offer/impose your opinions or ask them first?
  • And when the team comes up with some ideas, do you probe their thinking further or simply acknowledge these and then trump them with your own answers?

I have no scientific data on what the asking-to-telling ratio is for the best bosses but I suspect it lies somewhere between 3-to-1 and 5-to-1.

I wonder what a week of tracking this will yield for you?

Reposted with permission: ©2011 Ian Cook All Rights Reserved If you want to re-post or republish, please email ian@888fulcrum.com.


IanCookIan Cook, presenter and consultant, works with managers who want to increase their effectiveness as a leader and build a stronger team. To book Ian for a training seminar, team facilitation or keynote presentation, call toll-free at: 1-888-FULCRUM (385-2786) or e-mail: ian@888fulcrum.com

For more articles and book reviews of interest to managers please go to: www.888fulcrum.com

Liz Weber CMCLiz Weber, CMC CSP

Liz Weber coaches, consults, and trains leadership teams. She specializes in strategic and succession planning, and leadership development.

Liz is one of fewer than 100 people in the U.S. to hold both the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designations.

Contact Liz’s office at +1.717.597.8890 for more info on how Liz can help you, or click here to have Liz’s office contact you.

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One thought on “Guest Post: Ian Cook”

  1. Jacob says:

    Very well said article. This would be so useful when applying to any establishments, true that communication is a must not just between the company's premises but with the family itself. Thanks!

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on September 9, 2011 in Guest Post and tagged , , , ,