Becoming a Why Not Leader

A couple weeks ago, our Pastor asked the congregation to think about whether we are “why not” or “better not” people.  When faced with an opportunity, we have a choice.  We can respond with “why not give it a try” or “better not give it a try.”

This got me thinking; is one better than the other?  There are times it may be best to say “we better not give that a try.”  But other times it may be best to go ahead, take the risk, and ask “why not?”  It really may come down to the risk assessment of the opportunity.  If we determine the risk is not too severe, then saying “why not” may be the best course of action.

As leaders, it is our responsibility to assess risks and lead our teams forward with “why not” or “better not.”  But we need to be sensitive to the number of times we say “better not.”  You see, if we too frequently say “better not,” we’ll send the message to our teams that we don’t value ideas, creativity, and innovation.  And soon, the message our team members will receive is that we don’t value them.  At times, you may disagree with a decision your team member makes; you may think there is a better way to proceed.  But if the risk is minimal and the potential negative impact on your organization is small, then why not say “why not?”

Try to be a “why not” leader.  There are occasions when the risk is significant, and you may need to say “better not.”  Otherwise, be a “why not” leader.  Let your team take some risks and make some mistakes.  This will allow your team to be creative, innovative, and on the way to great success.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. – Check out my website at and keep me in mind if you hear of any opportunities to share my thoughts on leadership.

Ways to follow Dr. Jim Earle:
Twitter – @jvearle
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