Consider this scenario from a preschool classroom: (adapted story from Highscope.org)
Two kids are sitting on the floor sorting pinecones. One child has his pinecones in a pile. The other child has her pinecones in a long line. A conflict arises. The kids argue over who has the most pinecones.
A commanding adult could intervene with this statement. “You two kids need to count those pinecones and figure out how to make them equal.”
An intentional or mindful adult who believes every point of conflict is an opportunity for deeper questioning and insight might respond with a question. “I wonder what would happen if the acorns were both in a straight line?”
Admittedly, a commanding approach is a natural reaction. For me, it probably comes from being treated that way in school. Commanding is an approach that comes from a place of fear. The underlying message is that there is a problem to be fixed and I might look bad or incompetent if I don’t quickly resolve the issue. However the impact of commanding has led to adults who look to others to solve our problems.
Next time you bark a command to a child, stop and consider the impact. Do you want quick compliance or do you want to help a child become a grownup who can apply the leadership process to solve problems.
Could a similar scenario show up in a grownup environment like the workplace?