I work in the IT Security profession and currently mentor / leader a team of 4. A team member today asked a question regarding whether an observation / anomaly was material. Previously, I mentioned in some of my other questions that I wanted team members to be more proactive. Hence, rather than providing a direct answer,I asked What do you think? and How would you research the question? I made minor corrections in what he said, and referred him to professional guidelines as published within my industry

The ability to exercise professional judgement and evaluate evidence is crucial skill in my profession as an IT auditor.

However, could challenging the questioner in this manner be considered rude / unprofessional, as I may seem cold or unwilling to to assist my team?

  • 2
    could challenging the questioner in this manner be considered rude. It depends on how you answered. If you just said "RTFM, dude." it's likely that would be considered rude. On the other hand, if you gave the colleague the impression that it's safe to come to you with further questions if necessary, then that's probably the most important thing.
    – Brandin
    Jan 31 '17 at 7:39
  • You can ask, 'What do you think?" in a way that is professional or sarcastic. You'll know right away how the other person interprets it.
    – user8365
    Jan 31 '17 at 20:20

It sounds like you did assist the person, and you showed that you are looking for them to think about how they will handle such a problem if you're not available, which implies that you intend to trust them with more responsibility in the future.

You also provided feedback and reminded them of available resources, which also builds trust and empowerment.

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