Permission Seeking – Getting Direction – Making a Difference

You’ve been asking permission since you started talking.

Can I have a cookie?

Can I go outside?

Can I watch TV?

Now that we’re all big girls and boys, we need to give ourselves permission to make things better.

3 reasons we’re permission seekers:

  1. We’re afraid of overstepping. Respect keeps you in your place. What if you step on the boss’s toes or into someone’s turf?
  2. We’re afraid of screwing up. What if we give ourselves permission to take action and we make something worse. Your inner two year old screams, “Better play it safe! You might get spanked.” We’re afraid of embarrassment.
  3. We’re afraid we don’t have enough information. What if you take action but something’s already being done behind the scenes.

Permission or direction:

Give yourself permission to fulfill your good intentions. What the heck are you waiting for?

There’s confusion between asking permission and needing direction. Never comfort inaction by saying something stupid like, “I don’t know what to do.”

Give yourself permission to seek direction.

  1. Ask, “What could I do to be helpful?” Don’t sit on your hands waiting for direction. Seek it.
  2. State your intention and ask for information. “I’d like to be helpful, but I wonder if something’s already happening.”
  3. Declare your desire to help and state your concern that you might step on someone’s turf. “I’d like to be helpful, but I don’t want to offend someone.”

Give offense:

Those who aren’t doing anything feel offended by those who step in to make a difference. Maybe it’s time to humbly step on someone’s toes.

Give yourself permission to offend anyone who prefers to do nothing.

You don’t need permission to seek ways to serve.

How might permission seeking hold leaders back?

What’s the value of seeking permission?