Are you asking the right questions?
When leaders ask questions, they usually have one of four main objectives in mind: to understand, assess, innovate or motivate. That's according to The L Group co-founder Lee Colan. But the way we ask purposeful questions can affect whether we gain understanding or walk away empty-handed.
Colan puts it this way: "There is rarely a right answer to a wrong question."
In a recent Inc.com post, he suggests asking questions that will help you better understand your employees, rather than just a project or process. For example:
- In which areas would you like to grow?
- What do you love to do?
- What do you need to be at your very best?
If your need is to motivate, he suggests questions like:
- What needs to happen for this to succeed?
- What do you think the next steps should be?
- What's in it for you and the team if this is successful?
Colan also includes a table with sample questions that are organized under the four question objectives.
Asking questions allows our employees to think for themselves and assume some ownership over their work. It is up to us, though, to make sure we are asking the right questions.
Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).