There is no such thing as a dumb question
The Informative Mommy Chat Groups by Geni Dee
It’s a rite of passage. As soon as you become a mother you are allowed to join mommy chat groups on WhatsApp and Facebook. You can’t just join by yourself, you have to be invited. It’s quite exclusive.
I have been fortunate to be able to join such groups. It’s a gold-mine of information, where you can literally ask any baby/child related question and you will have eager responses from other mothers within minutes of posting.
It is a safe and encouraging environment, even if the answer to the question seems obvious or has been asked a million times before.
I have been guilty in the past of rolling my eyes, when I read the same question asked for the fifth time in one week. But what amazed me, was that the other moms would always reply. And always in the same detail, patiently explaining just as before.
This made me think about how we communicate in the workplace.
Often, I have been afraid to ask questions for the fear of sounding stupid. I have actually had bosses tell me that my questions were stupid. I have also been guilty of brushing off colleague’s questions just because I thought it was irrelevant or something they should have known. My bad behaviour stems from managers who did the same to me, but I am breaking that cycle now.
Some of these mommy chat group principles can actually be used by managers to enhance workplace communication, by creating supportive and constructive portals where problems can be addressed without judgement.
Misunderstandings can cost a company millions, which probably could have been prevented by one simple question being asked and answered. I have also realised that if there is one person asking, there are more likely others who are also wondering, but are just too cautious to enquire.
I am not suggesting that managers coddle their employees or become their best friend, but if an employee would rather turn to Google than actually ask their superior a question, the management strategy requires modification.
These mommy chat groups have also made me aware that problems can be solved much easier with group input and that there are in most cases more than one alternative to solving an issue.
Asking other people’s advice opens you up to a whole new way of thinking. Even if you think you know the answer, you can still learn something from someone else’ question.
In the wise words of the American astronomer an astrophysicist, Carl Sagan: “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.”