I’ve been to many meetings and listened to many interviews and walked away disappointed and frustrated. This was due to either due to answers that were wanting or a complete a lack of answers. Questions are the way we probe for specific information. One of the primary reasons for asking a question is so one can be enlightened, specifically. Why responding vs. answering? Because there is difference
It is important for the one who answers or, expected to answer to listen with great care. To answer questions in a satisfactory way, the answered must also decipher what is really being asked of him. Listening is an important skill for both life and leadership. To win relationships and lead well, listening well is not optional.
Having said all this, it is important to note that there’s a difference between a response and an answer.
Responding vs. Answering
A response is nothing more than a reaction to a question posed. The reaction may not even be directly related to the question or may totally be unrelated.
I’ve heard too many interviews, where politicians and others respond to questions but don’t answer. Saying something is not going to significantly address specifics. ‘Speaking’ directly and specifically to the question will.
An answer, for me, is when one directly engages the question to give a clear course in solving a problem or challenge the ‘question’ presents. In relation to the specifics questions seek, answers give the specific pertinent information. Many people fail exams and in other areas in life because they respond to questions but do not answer them.
When The Answerer (or Leader) Doesn’t Have The Answer(s)
We don’t always have the answers. I suppose I can also say we don’t always have the right answers. While it is impossible to always have the answers for everything every time, I believe that a leader must always have a response. In instances where the leader does not have the answer, he needs to be honest about it.
Give a specific a response to a question when you don’t have specifics by saying you don’t the specifics.
Be clear that you don’t know. There is an acceptable ignorance leaders can have. When responding, you can, for example, make it clear, “I am not sure about… BUT I will find the answer…”
Before blaming your team for failure, ask yourself whether you’ve been giving answers that empower them enough to fulfil their mandate. When next a question is posed, ask yourself whether you’d be satisfied with the answer if you were the one who asked it.
On responding vs. answering… Your take?