Imagine someone handing out money. He’d be so popular he’d be mobbed. Soon, he’d begin to long for a moment alone and wonder “why can’t these people earn their own money?”

Do you know anyone who uses the same approach to leading others? They give and give, and the more they give, the more people expect- leaving everyone with less?


Too many people use the “advice dispenser” approach to leading others. Their conversations are filled with “what you need to do is” and “I’m not going to tell you what to do, but if I were you I’d” and “here’s a bit of free advice…”

However, the idea of free advice is an illusion; these same advice dispensers then spend the rest of their day lamenting that “people can’t think for themselves”, and “no one around me makes decisions”, and “I can’t get my own work done because I’m always helping other people”.

There is a cost to giving others advice: we become “the source”. As the source, we effectively train people NOT to think on their own, but to rely on us. This is wonderful for our ego, but terrible for results.


The next time you feel the urge to tell someone what to do, follow these three steps:

  1. Grab the moment, pause, and realize you have a choice in your response.
  2. Ask yourself, “How do I respond so that they become more capable as a result of this interaction?”
  3. Ask them a question that inspires discovery and capability moving forward.

Is it possible that the reason some people are busier than they want to be is because they’ve effectively disempowered the people around them?

What is the difference between what”might be” and what “can be”? You decide.

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