Sunday, February 22, 2015

How Do You React to the Unanswered Question?

The unanswered question puzzles me.

Why would an individual leave a question unanswered?

Have I ever left a question unanswered? Not intentionally.

Sometimes my answer might be, "That's too personal" or "I really don't have an answer" or "Let me think about that" or "I'll let you know by __ because first I have to. . ."

But I rarely see a question as too big or too small not to answer in some way. I like the way questions make me think in new and different ways. I even like those questions that challenge my practice and work--questions that make me revisit my decisions and endeavor.

When a question is unanswered, the one who asks is left to think the following:
  • The question doesn't matter.
  • The answer is too harsh or controversial to publish an answer.
  • The individual hasn't given the question area much thought or consideration.
  • The recipient doesn't want to think about that question or topic.
  • The answer is meant to be hidden for some reason.
  • There isn't the time or will to answer the question.
If an issue arises and a good answer can make a difference, I'll ask the question. If I don't receive an answer, I'll ask someone else or seek the answer elsewhere. Sometimes I file the question away in the "unanswered file." Understanding well the decisions, process, and priorities of those you live and work with helps you to collaborate and do good work. Confusion and misunderstanding can slow down the path to best work and practice. 

How do you react to questions unanswered? Why do you think those questions remain unanswered? What is your professional and personal protocol when it comes to questions asked? I'm thinking about this. 

And if you've asked me a question and I haven't answered, that wasn't my intention. Please ask again.