Generation ‘why’: how questions benefit leaders

“These new kids, they’re smart all right,” the senior firefighter said. “But you know what drives me crazy about them? They’re always asking questions, always asking, ‘Why?’ It would be so much better if they could just do what they’re told without all the back talk.”

This is a common thought amongst older firefighters who grew up with the idea that you take your orders and keep your mouth shut. To them, asking why is considered back talk – inappropriate, disrespectful, and insubordinate. This article explains why this is not always the case with today’s newer firefighters.

What the older generation needs to realize is that questions aren’t always bad. The newest generation of workers is used to instant information. So if they’re asking “Why?” they’re probably interested in the answer and not just stalling or using it as a diversion tactic. The request for more information comes from their desire to learn, curiosity, confusion, or the need for specific information. And with the speed that they are able to find the information elsewhere, such as online resources, treating questions as a nuisance is not beneficial to you, your crew, or the citizens you serve, as the younger firefighters may begin to lose faith in your ability to train and mentor them and make you look irrelevant.

Read the rest of the article here.