John was struggling with how to handle a difficult situation with a key vendor for the company. He went to his supervisor, Stephanie, and asked her advice on what he should do. Rather than telling him what to do, or even giving direct input, Stephanie replied, “John, let me tell you a story . . . ” She went on to tell a story about an experience she had had early in her career and the consequences of her decision over the years.
When she was done, she paused and waited. After a few seconds of silence, John smiled and said: “Got it. Thanks.” He stood up and left the room, even though Stephanie hadn’t directly answered his question.