4 Reasons Why Questions are a Leader’s Best Friend:
1. Questions teach. They encourage those around us to think through and around issues. Helping people see things beyond their role or their function…and encouraging them to look at the bigger picture is best accomplished through deft questioning, not lecturing.
2. Questions promote innovation. I was on the receiving end of this one after spending a considerable amount with my team working through a problem to arrive at a solution: If it turns out that this approach is not acceptable, how else might you solve this problem? The new solution…a very different one turned out to be a much better approach.
3. Questions promote performance. Just the knowledge that the boss asks tough, non-judgmental questions motivates people to think harder and deeper about their ideas and approaches. A good boss wants as much gray matter of his/her team as possible!
4. Questions promote improved decision-making. Similar to the question for innovation above, effective leaders ask questions that encourage their team members to reframe situations when evaluating a decision. Something perceived as a problem might well be approached in a different manner when framed as neutral or even as an opportunity.
The Bottom-Line for Now:
Learn the art of asking questions, but remember to wield them like a surgeon: carefully, precisely and respectfully. Emphasis on the “respectfully” portion, or, you risk crossing the line from positive to intimidating.
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